News Column

East Haven Woman Accused of Threatening 'Mass Shooting'

Feb 21, 2013

Rich Scinto and Jennifer Swift

"I was pissed when the sandy hook happened lol... Cuz I wanted to be the next big one."

Those were just two of many troubling text messages Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, allegedly sent detailing her plot for a suicide bombing and mass shooting at Gateway Community College.

Bowden's home at 11 Ozone Road where neighbors say she lives with her mom and two kids was raided Tuesday afternoon after an investigation by the Connecticut Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI and the East Haven Police Department.

The text messages were initially sent to a man with whom Bowden had a relationship, who then contacted the FBI New Haven field office, according to a federal criminal complaint. An undercover FBI agent also exchanged text messages and phone conversations with Bowden.

Bowden also allegedly said to the undercover FBI agent in a recorded telephone conversation that she wanted to bomb the state Department of Children and Families, but refrained from doing so in order to keep a low profile.

She was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on one count of false information and hoaxes, a felony offense that has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Prior to her federal arraignment, Bowden first appeared in Superior Court in Milford on charges of second-degree threatening and first-degree harassment for a separate case, brought by West Haven police. In that case, Bowden allegedly told the man via text message he would have his "head blown off" accompanied by a photo of three long guns.

The man told police this was her reaction after he tried to terminate a three-week relationship over the Internet. He first came to police in December 2012, according to the arrest warrant in the West Haven case.

Standing in U.S. District Court Wednesday, Bowden, wearing a black North Face jacket, black leggings and Ugg boots, was remanded to be held in federal custody until a detention hearing Friday.

"All threats of this nature will be viewed as serious by this office and prosecuted to the full extent of federal law," David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, said in a statement.

She waived her Miranda rights and claimed that she didn't actually plan the shooting or bombing, but wanted to be accepted by the people with whom she was exchanging text messages, according to the complaint.

Gateway was made aware of the online threat Feb. 5 by local police and the FBI, said Evelyn Gard, director of public affairs for the college. Officials were asked not to announce the threat publicly because it was under investigation.

"At no time were we told we were ever in any real danger," she said.

Bowden described in detailed texts to the man how she planned to execute her alleged plan, according to the federal complaint. She claimed to have possessed two napalm-based bombs and firearms at her residence. She also claimed to have drawn parts of school for her alleged plan, the complaint says.

When her home was raided Tuesday, no bombs or firearms were found, according to police.

Bowden allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that she trusted him and that she understood she could be put in jail for the exchanged text messages and phone calls.

She said in a text to the man that went to the FBI that she wanted to execute the alleged plan by the end of the year and that she had more planning to do, according to the complaint. She told the man via text messages that she had been planning: "Couple months now but I was thinking about doing something like this for a year."

The man asked via text message why she had chosen Gateway for her alleged plot and she replied "Yes the people talk (expletive)."

She went on to say in texts that: "I want people dead," and "Not injured," according to the complaint.

Other texts, according to the federal complaint include:

--"I feel like I can't wait any longer to do what I want to do I can't wait it's going to be fun"

--"If y don't do it with me ill be all over the news ill be famous haha"

--"We have to plan it more to make it better then the rest. And make sure they die and not have stupid injures most likely end of this year or early next year".

--"I had a sex dream lol. Yea we were having sex after we killed everyone lol".

Two cars sat in the driveway of Bowden's two-story residence, but no one answered the door Wednesday afternoon.

A neighbor who said he has lived on the street for nearly 10 years said he wasn't surprised to learn of Bowden's alleged actions.

"It really didn't surprise me, just based on the way she was," he said. "She just wasn't a nice person."

This neighbor also said he called the cops to his street once before to report Bowden smoking marijuana near his home while his children were outside.

"She just seemed troubled, that girl had problems," he said.

The man said Bowden lived in the home with her mother and her two children. Her sister used to live at home, but the neighbor believes she's now in college. He said both Amanda's sister and mother were friendly.

The neighbor said his wife saw the FBI agents and police outside the Bowden home around 2:30 p.m.

Bowden is charged with two counts of criminal mischief and harassment in a December arrest by the Police Department. She is due in New Haven Superior Court for those charges at 10 a.m. today.

___



Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)


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