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FBI arrests Florida man accused of threatening ‘mass casualty event’

By Josh Campbell and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) — A Florida man accused of posting online threats to carry out mass violence has been arrested and charged with making an interstate threat and a weapon violation, federal court records show.

Alexander Lightner, 26, of Venice, Florida, allegedly posted comments online that were “intended to convey the message that he was planning to conduct a racially or ethnically motivated mass casualty event,” according to an affidavit.

He was interviewed by FBI agents from the bureau’s Tampa Field Office a week later on January 5, and law enforcement executed a search warrant at Lightner’s home before he was arrested.

CNN has reached out to the public defender representing Lightner for comment on the government’s allegations.

According to the affidavit, Lightner posted “Highscore shall be defeated” and “2024 there shall be saints…” amongst other things, an FBI investigator said.

“I know that a “saint” is an individual who commits an act of violence in furtherance of white supremacist and accelerationist goals,” the investigator said in the affidavit. “Following the commission of an act of violence in furtherance of the white supremacist and accelerationist goals, an individual may be “sainted.”

“Highscore” is believed to be a “reference to the death toll amassed by an attacker who commits an act of mass violence,” the investigator continued in the affidavit.

While searching Lightner’s home, FBI agents found an unlawful firearm suppressor in a laundry hamper of a bedroom he shared with his brother and “propaganda regarding white supremacist and accelerationist ideology in Lightner’s bedroom,” according to court records.

The objective of so-called accelerationism is to foment divisiveness and polarization that will induce the collapse of the existing order and spark a civil war, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, which wrote about the perils of the movement in 2022.

During an interview with the FBI, Lightner admitted to making the posts, but indicated he was drunk at the time and “made the posts because he wanted attention,” according to the charging document.

“He also told federal agents that the reference to ‘saint’ inferred that he would become a ‘saint’ after his death” and that the silencer found in the hamper belonged to him and he had made it when he was 12 years old, according to the affidavit.

A judge ordered Lightner remain in custody at a detention hearing on Tuesday. In the order the judge determined “the evidence against (Lightner) is strong and involves serious, violent conduct.”

The judge also noted the defendant “tested positive for the use of cocaine upon arrest, has prior convictions for reckless driving with damage and causing damage to property, and previously violated conditions of probation.”

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