Utah man facing federal charges after alleged death threats at VA health centers
IRON COUNTY — A Cedar City man has been arrested and booked on federal charges after reportedly making death threats toward VA Hospital workers. Prosecutors say he made hundreds of calls, and he reportedly forced a clinic in St. George to temporarily shut down.
Charging documents say Aaron David Kirschner made over 600 calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs George E. Whalen Medical Center in Salt Lake City over the span of just four days. Prosecutors say he was trying to annoy and harass workers until his demands were met. However, the documents don’t specify what his demands were.
Prosecutors say Kirschner identified five workers by name and threatened to kill them. In one exchange, he reportedly told the worker he was at the facility in Salt Lake, looking at the University of Utah campus across the street. Legal analyst Greg Skordas, who is not connected to this case, says Kirschner claiming he was at the building escalated the threats he was making.
Skordas said, “There is some immediacy there. There is a reason why the people hearing that would be very afraid.”
Alleged death threats to VA workers
Some of the threats, according to the charging documents, include…
- “You are going to die; Nobody is going home today; You think I am joking, but I am not.”
- “You are not going to hang up again, because if you do, I will put you into the ground and you will not get to see your family again.”
- “Tell the [chief of staff identified by name] she is a dead woman.”
- “If you are not at the operator’s desk then you had better not show up ever again because I have no problem putting a bullet in your head.”
The documents say Kirschner used his phone and computer to tie up as many phone lines as possible at the Whalen facility. KSL.com is reporting Kirschner was arrested after surrendering to police Wednesday morning.
Kirschner was formally charged with two counts of interstate threats and one count of cyberstalking, all of which are federal felonies. Skordas believes the high number of calls Kirschner made will make his sentence longer, if he’s found guilty.
“A dozen offensive calls is really bad, but 100 offensive calls is worse,” Skordas said. “The judge will take the number of calls into account in fashioning a sentence. And it will certainly be greater than it would be had he made six calls instead of 600.”
Iron County Sheriff Ken Carpenter tells KSL they believe Kirschner also made threats to workers at the Veterans Affairs Clinic in St. George, reportedly forcing it to temporarily close. Officials from the Salt Lake Veterans Affairs system say Kirschner was threatening workers and veterans at the facility.