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As Super Bowl Looms, Arrest for Threats to Steelers-Jaguars Playoff Game

Just six days ahead of the Super Bowl a Texas man was charged with threatening a mass shooting at the Jan. 14 Pittsburgh Steelers-Jacksonville Jaguars American Football Conference playoff game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Yuttana Choochongkol, aka Jason Manotham, 40, of San Antonio was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with one count of transmitting interstate threatening communications, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady announced Jan. 26.

According to the Jan. 12 criminal complaint, Choochongkol sent three separate communications threatening a mass shooting aimed at Pittsburgh Steelers players and fans. Choochongkol is alleged to have communicated a threat of a mass shooting and suicide to KDKA-TV through their “contact us” internet portal on Jan. 10 at 8:47 p.m. EST. He allegedly transmitted subsequent violent threats related to the Steelers playoff game through the Heinzfield.com “contact us” website form on Jan. 10 at 8:26 p.m. EST and again on Jan. 11 at 9:04 a.m. EST. Special agents with the FBI-Pittsburgh’s Joint Terrorism Task Force were able to trace the originating address of the communications to a facility in San Antonio. Agents responded to that location and identified the individual who communicated the threats as Choochongkol.

Choochongkol was arrested on Jan. 12, 2018, in San Antonio. On Jan. 26, a federal magistrate judge in the Western District of Texas granted the government’s request that Choochongkol be detained without bond pending trial in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Just days prior to 68,000 fans gathering at Heinz Field, the FBI worked rapidly to identify and arrest this defendant, who threatened mass violence against players and fans,” said Brady. “We commend the FBI and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for their exceptional work in the arrest of Choochongkol, which averted a potential disaster. The safety and protection of the citizens of Western Pennsylvania remains our highest priority.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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