A Rhode Island man who police say has an “intense dislike” for the New England Patriots allegedly made threats that he was going to shoot people at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
In a Facebook post, Tobias Gray, of East Providence, allegedly wrote that he would “pull a white boys school shooting” if he were to obtain a gun, according to CBS affiliate WBZ. He allegedly said he didn’t yet have a gun but was “looking” for one.
The threat came after the New England Patriots signed former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown had a tumultuous stint in Oakland and was released from the team on Saturday.
Gray was arrested Sunday night, according to Providence, Rhode Island, ABC affiliate WLNE, on an unrelated domestic assault charge.
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New England Patriots players celebrate during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
According to the Providence Journal, Gray was arrested in connection with domestic violence incident that allegedly took place on Sept. 3. It was then that he was also charged with making threats to officers over the course of that arrest, allegedly saying, according to police, “I am going to make it my life mission to find you and your kid and going to wish you never met.”
Gray has not yet been formally charged with making threats to Gillette Stadium, because that will take place in Massachusetts. He is currently being held in Rhode Island.
“He was reacting to the Patriots obtaining Antonio Brown,” Stefanie DiMaio Larivee, a lawyer representing Gray, told WLNE. “Just like everyone else, he was reacting as a fan. His opinion. Nothing he said was meant to be taken seriously.”
During a court appearance on Monday, Gray wore a New York Giants jersey, according to court footage from WLNE. The judge in that Providence courtroom called Gray’s record “extensive.”
“Chief [William] Baker has indicated that the Foxborough Police are withholding comment at this time on any specific action our agency may have taken, or may take in the future, in response to the ongoing challenge of malevolent or criminal social media posts,” Foxborough police said in a statement. “In general, Chief Baker says the department will respond vigorously and in close collaboration with our local, state and federal partners to take appropriate action as the law allows.”
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“When you combine violence in the game and passion from the stands, it’s more than plausible that someone who is not rational, mentally unstable, will take both of those elements and equate them together,” Ken Schreiber, a sports columnist and former magistrate judge in Rhode Island, told ABC News.
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Antonio Brown (84) looks on during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, Aug. 15, 2019.
Schreiber said that oftentimes in today’s climate with frequent mass shootings, officials use caution rather than taking chances.
“It’s safety and caution over any type of ambiguity,” he said.
Gray is being held on $25,000 bail for the prior case and is expected to be arraigned in Wrentham, Massachusetts, District Court this week.
The Patriots opened the season Sunday night at Gillette Stadium with a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.