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Man Threatens ‘Mass Shooting’ in Hawai‘i

September 15, 2019, 3:35 PM HST
* Updated September 22, 1:01 PM
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Gov. David Ige

The rhetoric surrounding the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) dispute atop Mauna Kea continues to ratchet up, as one Hawai‘i resident took the conversation to the topic of mass shootings.

On Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, Gov. David Ige held a press conference asking all parties involved to tone down the threatening and otherwise aggressive, angry or hateful language as the situation on Mauna Kea moves rounds its second month and heads into its third.

At the bottom of one post containing Gov. Ige’s video message, a commenter posted a message inviting social media users to a “mass shooting in the Hawai‘i state capitol.” The message prompted an FBI alert, naming George Sopi, 29, as the apparent source of the threat.

The FBI noted Sopi has a history of internet posts mentioning violence toward Gov. Ige and/or mass shootings in general. Sopi has a criminal record, which includes offenses for assault and for assaulting a police officer.

Sopi has not been arrested for his comments, according to State Attorney General Clare Connors, though authorities are aware of the situation.

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It is unclear what connection, if any, Sopi has to the Mauna Kea protest or any protesters. The mountain’s “protectors,” as they’ve dubbed themselves, have been advocates of peaceful protest since the demonstration began. There has been no violence between protectors and police on Mauna Kea in all that time.

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Tensions have risen since Sept. 6, when the state tore down an unpermitted structure erected by protesters on Department of Hawaiian Homelands property atop Mauna Kea. Police also made two arrests as the state carried out the demolition of the structure.

Attorney General Connors joined Gov. Ige at a press conference days later to condemn certain language being employed in online discussions about TMT, which the state claimed was propagating false narratives about alleged police misbehavior and, in one case, essentially put a bounty out for the name of an officer involved in the removal project.

Sopi’s comments about a mass shooting at the capitol were in response to the press conference held by Gov. Ige and Attorney General Connors.

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