The latest alleged threats of political violence occurred in Illinois, where a Chicago man reportedly issued threats to the Republican gubernatorial candidate and his family. The 21-year-old suspect left a terrorizing voicemail threatening to assassinate Darren Bailey and later bragged to his friends about making the death threats, according to police.
Scott Lennox was charged with one felony count each of threatening a public official, telephone harassment, and harassment by electronic communications, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. His bail was set at $75,000.
Prosecutor Lorraine Scaduto said Lennox was with friends at a bar on Friday when a political ad aired on TV that infuriated him. He allegedly got into a "heated argument" with his friends about Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey – who is also the Republican candidate for governor.
Lennox left a voicemail at Bailey's office in Springfield at 10:27 p.m., according to the police report.
"I'm going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive, and I’m going to feed his f***ing family to him as he is alive and screaming in f***ing pain,” Lennox said, according to prosecutors.
“He is a piece of white a** racist s**t, and honestly if he doesn’t kill himself, I will. You know what? I know where he lives. I know where he sleeps. I know where his kids sleep. And I know the f***ing school he works at,” Lennox reportedly threatened.
"The candidate teaching all this mother f***ing misinformation is going to die," Lennox allegedly said. "So honestly he should just kill himself before anything else happens.”
“So f*** him for being a piece of s**t,” Lennox allegedly said of Bailey in the voicemail. “So you know what? I am going to take anything and everything possible. You know what? I am going to make him scream. I am going to make him scream and suffer. Yeah, that’s right. So he better kill himself, and if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him."
Lennox reportedly said he does not like current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker either, but loathes Bailey even more, to the point of making assassination threats.
Lennox reportedly also made comments about abortion in the voicemail, but prosecutors did not reveal his remarks.
Bailey's campaign website states:
As a man of faith, Darren is proudly pro-life and will always stand up to protect the rights of the unborn. Darren believes in the sanctity of life, and as a state legislator, voted against the extreme overhaul and expansion of abortion access in Illinois. Darren opposes state and taxpayer funding of abortions. As Governor, he will continue to defend innocent life.
Lennox's phone number was revealed by the caller ID. On Monday, a Bailey staff member reported the menacing message to the Illinois State Capitol Police and the Illinois State Police.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the threats caused the "schools affiliated with Bailey and his family in southern Illinois" to be "placed on soft lockdown."
Bailey was also provided with an extra security detail and was "told to avoid appearing in public as police investigated."
Chicago Police Department officers interviewed Lennox. Lennox allegedly told authorities that he made the disturbing voicemail "for shock value to his friends," according to Scaduto.
The suspect allegedly showed police messages he wrote to friends about the intimidating message and even bragged about being a "political terrorist."
Lennox boasted about the threatening voicemail to four of his friends.
“Dude. Three f***ing cops showed up man. Bro, they told me that now [Bailey] is on lockdown and now he has to be surrounded by security," Lennox reportedly wrote in a Snapchat message that included four crying laughing emojis.
“I don’t feel bad about it at all,” Lennox said, according to CWBChicago.
“Dude, I’m a political terrorist," Lennox bragged. "I sent a super ‘threatening’ – quotes for legal purposes – message to [Bailey] and now the cops are coming over to ‘ask me some questions.'”
One of the friends allegedly replied, “Not sending messages anonymously? Rookie mistake.”
Lennox reportedly responded, "No, dude. Normally I did, but I left a voicemail cuz I wanted him to know it was me. Dude, his entire family is on lockdown. I feel so f***ing accomplished.”
The recipient allegedly praised Lennox, “Now THAT’S how you should be participating in elections. If the officials aren’t afraid, something is wrong.”
Lennox purportedly replied, “Haha. So f***ing true."
Lennox reportedly wrote to another friend, “THE COOK COUNTY INVESTIGATIONS SQUAD NOW CONSIDERS ME A POLITICAL TERRORIST. LITERALLY I HAD 3 COPS PULL UP TO ME AND F**ING INTERROGATE ME FOR LIKE 30 MINUTES.”
Lennox allegedly told a third friend, "Yeah bro. I’m a f***ing terrorist.”
The recipient reportedly responded, "I don’t want to be associated with these texts in case the police investigate your phone, so please delete them."
Lennox allegedly replied, "Aight. I was gonna anyway. Also, technically, it’s illegal for a legal division to go looking into a Snapchat without a warrant. Literally I know all the laws behind this s**t.”
The friend allegedly mocked Lennox, "OK. Of course you do. LOL.”
A friend asked who Darren Bailey was, and Lennox was said to have responded, "It’s the butt f***ing motherf***ing person running for Illinois governor. He’s super racist. I literally made it so he and his entire family is on lockdown. I love it."
After police reviewed the social media messages, Lennox was arrested at around 10 p.m. on Monday.
At the end of the bail hearing, Judge Susana Ortiz said of the threats, "It's clear that the intent wasn’t merely just to leave some rambling message, but for this threat to be conveyed and have an impact on the public official.” Ortiz added that the social media conversations "make it evident that there is certainly no remorse about this action and taking delight and pleasure in everything that flowed from this incident."
“It simply will not be tolerated," Ortiz declared.
Bailey reacted by saying, “Divisive, inflammatory, and misleading rhetoric is driving hatred across our state as some attempt to label political opponents as dangerous threats."
“Whether we agree or disagree on policies, we are all Americans,” Bailey said. “I pray this young man gets the help he needs. We must bring our state together and fight for the safety and prosperity of every Illinoisan.”
Pritzker tweeted, "The violent rhetoric and division we're seeing across our country is unacceptable. Hatred in any form has no home in Illinois."
Previously, Pritzker had labeled Bailey as a "Trump extremist."
“Darren Bailey is a threat to democracy. He’s surrounded himself with Jan. 6th insurrectionists," Prtizker said during last month's debate. "He shouldn’t be let anywhere near the governor’s office.”
“He is, frankly, too extreme for Illinois,” Pritzker said during the final debate. “Darren Bailey is out of touch with the entire state of Illinois.”
Bailey responded, "His gender issues are so extreme. Gov. Pritzker is perfectly fine injecting his gender curriculum, the first of its kind in the nation, into our schools. Woke ideology. I think that’s extreme.”
Pritzker is leading Bailey in the polls heading to the upcoming election.
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