Grand Blanc man accused of threatening lives of Democratic US congressman, FBI director

Man reportedly threatened US California Rep. John Garamendi, FBI Director Christopher Wray

Neil Walter, of Grand Blanc, is accused of threatening to injure a U.S. California congressman and the director of the FBI, according to a criminal complaint filed on Nov. 22, 2022. Image of Walter provided in FBI criminal complaint. (WDIV)

A Southeast Michigan man is being accused of threatening the life of a Democratic U.S. congressman from California and the director of the FBI earlier this month.

In a criminal complaint filed Tuesday by the FBI in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan, a Grand Blanc man is being accused of leaving a threatening voice message for Democratic U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, who represents part of northern California. The caller, identified as Neil Walter, is also accused of threatening to kill FBI Director Christopher Wray.

According to the complaint, Walter is tied to a threatening voice message left for Rep. Garamendi at about 10:53 p.m. on Nov. 3. The message said, “John. Hey, John. You’re gonna die, John. You’re gonna die,” the criminal complaint reads.

Earlier that day, Walter reportedly wrote a Facebook post for Rep. Garamendi and tagged him in it. The post, which is pictured in the criminal complaint, accused Rep. Garamendi of rape, and ended by saying, “[sic] your gettin put down for life bud.”

Following the messages, the U.S. Capitol Police requested police in Genesee County to conduct a welfare check of Walter at his Grand Blanc home. The complaint alleges that Walter answered the door with a handgun in his hand and initially refused to drop it, before putting it in his pocket and keeping his hand over it during the interaction. Officials say Walter claimed he would “defend himself against the U.S. government.”

Investigators say they then reached out to Walter’s immediate family members and learned that he is allegedly struggling with mental health issues and refusing treatment. He had been involuntarily committed at a mental health facility in December 2021, the complaint says.

Then on Nov. 19, Walter is accused of threatening to kill FBI Director Wray in comments under a live stream of the director on Facebook. Photos were captured of Walter commenting: “I will kill you I will kill you director Wray you will die I will kill you in self defense.”

You can see the comments in the complete criminal complaint below.

Investigators found that Walter has a firearm registered under his name, and may also have another unregistered pistol, according to the man’s mother. Family reportedly told investigators that Walter said he would protect himself if anyone attempts to remove him from his home.

Authorities are seeking an arrest warrant for Walter to charge him with interstate commerce communications containing a threat to injury the person of another. The charge carries fines and up to five years prison time.

Find the entire criminal complaint below.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.