PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Texas man who made online threats to commit a shooting massacre, targeting the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, went before a federal judge for his punishment on Tuesday.
At the time he made the threats, he was a test subject for a psychotropic medication.
Yuttana Choochongkol told the judge, “I am sorry for everyone I offended or frightened,” right before she sentenced him to 18 months in prison.
The sentencing guidelines called for 15–21 months, so the judge went right down the middle.
— Julie Grant (@JulieGrantEsq) November 27, 2018
Much of the hearing focused on his mental state at the time he made the threats.
Ahead of the Steelers-Jaguars game on January 14, 2018, police say Choochongkol, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, made three online threats about carrying out a shooting massacre, targeting Steelers’ players and fans.
“We coordinated the filing of charges by the District Attorney and federally so that we could obviate the threat right away,” said United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady.
In the first threat on Jan. 10, 2018, Choochongkol said he was going to “try and kill as many Steelers football players and fans as possible before taking my own worthless life. So see y’all in hell.”
He posted as “I am anonymous” and made a second threat the same day, investigators said.
The third threat was on Jan. 11, 2018.
Choochongkol said, “Consider me armed and dangerous for this Sunday with inside connection. I will be packing an Uzi with many clips underneath my winter gear. My target will be the whole Steelers sideline. There is only one God!! His name is Allah!!” He posted as “Kill Roethlisberger.”
Choochongkol made the threats from a computer at Worldwide Clinical Trials in San Antonio. He was a drug trial subject for Viloxazine, a psychotropic medication and anti-depressant designed to treat ADHD.
So far, he has spent 10 1/2 months in jail, pleading guilty to threatening interstate communications back in July.
“For us, justice was served in two ways. One, the threat is obviated right out of the gate. We take him off the street, we protect the Steelers game, 64,000 people see a public threat where a person says I want to commit suicide and I am going to come in the stadium and kill as many people, we have to take that seriously. So we put hands on him and we filed a complaint right away. The second thing is what kind of message is sent to people who would make these kinds of threats,” said Brady. “We will prosecute you, and the sentence today shows people that, make these kinds of terroristic threats, you will be taken into custody and be a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”
Choochongkol was also made to consume alcohol and fast as part of that medication study.
He does have a criminal history, consisting of some theft crimes, a battery charge, soliciting sex and some other offenses. No firearms offenses or anything that rises to the level of this conduct.