An Illinois man, Aries Woodfin, was arrested Friday, after he allegedly made threats in Facebook posts to kill police and “innocent white children” as a New Year’s resolution. Police found a homemade shooting range in Woodfin’s basement.
The Facebook threats, in which Woodfin expressed his intentions, caught the attention of an unidentified person in Alabama, who then notified the police.
Aries Woodfin, 33, a convicted felon with firearms-related offenses, was taken into custody, after police found a.45-caliber pistol and several rounds of ammunition in his basement, according to ABC7 in Chicago. While Woodfin has not been charged in connection with his Facebook threats, he was charged in Cook County Criminal Court on Saturday with weapons possession, assault, having a firearm without a valid permit, and disorderly conduct. He is being held without bond, and will remain in Cook County Jail.
The owner of the home where Woodfin was arrested, Beatrice Franklin, maintains Woodfin was only venting in his Facebook posts over recent events, in which white police officers killed young black men and were not criminally charged.
“He was speaking his mind. He was expressing how he felt, which is what everyone else was doing on Facebook as well, expressing themselves. They were ranting and they were raving.”
Prosecutors and the judge, however, disagree that Woodfin was just expressing himself. In court, prosecutors described Woodfin as an angry man who used Facebook to threaten the lives of police officers. The judge agreed, stating the suspect is dangerous.
Franklin also insists the gun found in her home, where Woodfin sometimes stays and was the place of his arrest, belonged to her, not the suspect.
“That gun that they found belonged to me. I am a licensed FOID cardholder and I have paperwork stating that it’s mine. So no, it’s not his.”
According to NBC Chicago, Woodfin also posted pictures of white children along with the posts on Facebook. When arrested, Woodfin allegedly stated to police that he is a warrior and the streets would run red with blood.
Woodfin’s alleged threats drew sharp attention from law enforcement because of the murders of New York Police Officers Ralph Ramos and Wenjian Liu last week. The two officers were shot and killed as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had posted comments on social media prior to the shooting in which he referred to the killing of unarmed black men, specifically the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner in New York. Brinsley later committed suicide after killing the two officers.
Aries Woodfin’s next court date related to this case is in January.