Michigan man threatened to shoot Chicago’s mayor if she didn’t fix the city’s crime problem within 5 weeks, prosecutors say

Chicago — A Michigan man threatened to shoot Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot if she didn’t reduce crime in the city within five weeks, prosecutors said Tuesday. But the man’s defense attorney said he has a “long mental health history.”

William Kohles, 42, was extradited from Grand Rapids to Chicago to face a charge of threatening a public official in connection with the alleged threat, which was sent on September 23 via the “Contact Us” link on Lightfoot’s city webpage.

William Kohles allegedly sent a threatening message via the official Chicago Mayor web page. | City of Chicago; Chicago Police Department

“If you don’t reduce the crime in our city, I will turn around and shoot your f*cking black *ss myself,” the message allegedly said. “You have five weeks, or else you’ll have a bullet with your name on it. I guarantee it will go straight through your motherf*cking head.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said that the message contained other insults and used a racial slur to talk about Lightfoot.

“I advise you not to hire any extra security because they won’t even know what’s coming when I shoot your *ss because it will be unexpected at the time it happens,” the transmission continued.

An employee in Chicago’s 311 operations center saw the message and contacted Chicago police. Investigators traced the message to Kohles’ cellphone, Scaduto said. A judge issued an arrest warrant for Kohles on September 27.

According to Scaduto, Kohles told Kent County, Michigan, investigators that he was watching the news about Chicago’s violence levels and blamed Lightfoot for it. He allegedly admitted to sending a “written complaint” about crime because he visits friends in Chicago and doesn’t want to become a crime victim here.

Private defense lawyer Robert Fischer said Kohles “was supposed to be on several medications” for mental health concerns. He called the allegations an “isolated incident.”

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Kohles to pay a $3,000 bail deposit to be released from custody. She also gave him permission to return to Michigan to await trial. Fisher said that Kohles’s father ensured that Kohles would get medical care upon returning home.

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