Authorities arrested a Catawba County man accused of using Facebook to try to form a militia to harm law enforcement officers.
Lincoln County sheriff’s investigators said Timothy Lee Cornwell of Maiden made death threats on his Facebook page against a Lincoln County narcotics officer and a state probation and parole officer.
The Facebook page named the officers and listed their vehicle numbers, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
The Facebook threats followed a March 12 search by probation and parole officers of Cornwell’s daughter’s home in Lincoln County, investigators said. The search regarded a probation matter.
Notified of the threats, Lincoln County narcotics investigators said they formed a task force to find Cornwell. The task force included probation and parole officers and personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday, U.S. Marshals personnel set up a perimeter around a mobile home on Lutz Dairy Farm Road, and a Lincoln County sheriff’s SWAT team entered the home.
“Cornwell failed to comply with verbal commands and had to be forcefully restrained and taken into custody,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
EMS treated Cornwell at the scene and released him to sheriff’s investigators, the statement said.
Cornwell was charged with one felony count of probation violation and one misdemeanor count each of resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer and communicating threats. He was jailed with bail set at $28,000.
Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Reid said he encourages people to visit Cornwell’s Facebook page to see the threats for themselves.
In a posting at 9:35 p.m. Monday, Cornwell wrote:
“it (sic.) was put in the constitution to protect us when cops like the ones lincolnton has does these things they become the criminal and you bcome (sic.) the police every citizen has rght (sic.) to become police or if need be form malitia (sic.) and put a stop to it its all in the constitution read it study it.”
Said Reid, “Cornwell chose to use social media to broadcast an attempt to form a militia and to attack law enforcement officers. Lincoln County is a better place with people like Timothy Cornwell in prison and removed from the community.”