ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials have arrested an 18-year-old who they say threatened online to kill a sheriff and his wife following the arrest of rappers Young Thug and Gunna and others.
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat, believed to be the target of the threats, announced the arrest on Friday. Quartavius Mender was jailed in Fulton County Jail last week on 23 counts of threatening terrorism, records show. He is being held without bail. It is unclear if Mender has an attorney to speak for him.
Local media reports that Mender threatened to kill Labat, his wife Jacki and the Atlanta School District Police Chief on various social media pages if they did not release Young Thug, whose legal name is Jeffery Williams.
“#freethug or Imma sh00t u and your wife,” Mender wrote, according to arrest warrants reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He reportedly wrote on the sheriff’s Instagram page a second time a few hours later, saying, “I’m going to murder you.”
Among the 28 people charged in the racketeering indictment is Tenquarius Mender. It was not immediately clear Friday if he and Quartavius Mender were related.
“We take these kinds of brazen threats seriously,” Labat said in a statement. “Cyberbullying on social media and hiding behind a keyboard will not protect someone from criminal prosecution.”
Officials allege Young Thug leads the Young Slime Life gang, arresting him and 27 others in a sweeping indictment filed under Georgia’s racketeering law. It charges gang members involved in murders, shootings, carjackings and other crimes.
Young Thug was denied bail on Thursday after a Fulton County judge expressed “significant concerns” about letting him go home under house arrest.
Prosecutors said they planned to offer plea deals to some of the defendants in exchange for testifying, but said some witnesses were already under threat.
“Our witnesses in this case are threatened with violence, serious violence and death,” Fulton County District Attorney Don Geary said.
Young Thug’s lawyers strongly deny that he participated in any crimes.