March 31, 2023

A Michigan man with a history of mental illness was arrested by the FBI on Thursday after he allegedly made threatening comments against federal agents, the LGBT community, and Democratic politicians including President Joe Biden and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The FBI received a tip last week from Google about an “unknown subject making threatening comments on Youtube,” according to the recently unsealed complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Randall Robert Berka II, a 30-year-old Sebawaing resident, is accused of making over a dozen comments between Feb. 18 and March 7 threatening to “kill these democrats” and “kill whitmer.” 

Berka was charged in federal court with unlawful possession of a firearm. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Berka was allegedly illegally in possession of four guns—three long guns and a pistol–given his history of mental illness and use of illegal drugs. The guns were bought for him over the last year by his mother despite his history of mental illness. He also owned body armor and used marijuana daily, the complaint said. 

Berka was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2012 and determined “legally incapacitated” the next year. His mother cooperated with the FBI last week because she feared that his treatment wasn’t working. She told the agents that she was “scared” of her son and “believes Berka should be arrested and put in prison,” the complaint said.

Berka’s alleged comments on YouTube included “im gonna kill lgbt freaks,” “i buy guns though and plot to kill people,” and “im going to kill these democrats biden deserves to die.”

The arrest came a week after a similar case was made public in Michigan in which a man threatened violence against Jewish members of state government.

“This defendant’s actions were very alarming,” James A. Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan, said in a statement. “When free speech crosses a line and becomes a threat of violence against another—aggravated by the illegal possession of firearms—the full investigative resources of the FBI will be brought to bear. As always, we encourage the public to be vigilant and report concerning behavior to the FBI and local law enforcement.”

Prosecutors plan to seek to keep Berka confined until trial because he poses a threat to the community and is a flight risk, according to a press release.

Read the full complaint below:

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