New Haven police announced the arrest Saturday of a man from Orange for allegedly making an implied threat of gun violence on social media aimed at the city’s Puerto Rican Festival.
Jeffrey Hanson, 53, was charged with second-degree breach of peace. He was released after posting $50,000 bond, according to police.
The threat was made Wednesday in response to a television station's Facebook post on this weekend's event. Chief Otoniel Reyes said the comment “suggested and threatened that there should be 30 round magazines as a result of the festival.”
The post “caused a lot of concern and a lot of fear throughout the public and especially the Puerto Rican community,” Reyes said.
During a press conference, held on the New Haven Green against the backdrop of organizers preparing for Saturday’s event, Reyes told reporters they were sending a message that “whenever anyone threatens the safety of anyone, it is something that’s of high priority to us. And especially with the climate today around the country, where hateful rhetoric has led to violence, we wanted to make sure that our public here in New Haven and the national public knew that this was not something we were going to take lightly.”
Police said no weapons were seized and they did not uncover any physical threat to the event, however plans were put into place to provide extra patrols.
State Rep. Juan Candelaria said the press conference was a reassurance to the community and encouraged people to come out and celebrate Puerto Rican culture.
“In the wake of two mass shootings, any threat of violence cannot be taken lightly,” he said. “You had a community that was scared for a period there.”
Officials said the investigation, conducted with the help of state and local police along with the FBI, is ongoing and may lead to additional charges.
Hanson is due in New Haven Superior Court Monday for arraignment.