An Ohio man threatened to kill his wife and carry out mass shootings at a church and a Las Vegas casino that would “go down in history,” the FBI said Thursday after allegedly uncovering a series of text messages.
Wei Li, 38, was taken into federal custody on Thursday after his estranged wife contacted authorities saying she feared for her life when she received the hostile texts, the FBI said. Li allegedly began texting the woman Nov. 6 and threatened to shoot up the Las Vegas hotel and casino where she worked. The FBI did not specify which hotel Li was planning to target.
“Li indicated in the text messaging that the killing he planned to commit would go down in history and that he would blame his wife for all the deaths,” the FBI said in a news release.
Li also allegedly vowed to carry out a mass shooting at a church he attended with at least 1,000 people in it, reportedly writing in a text: "I will make the biggest [mass shooting] in history," according to Cleveland.com. His wife responded to the texts with, "You are too cruel" and "Are you sick?" court records stated.
Li also allegedly said he would kill his wife if he didn’t get his green card. Li then sent photos of himself with a rifle, knives and a list of casinos in Las Vegas, Cleveland.com reported. He also reportedly told her he had an automatic rifle.
Court records showed Li went to the casino his wife worked at before the Nov. 6 texts and he later told her he was able to roam the building freely.
"No one checked me," he said.
Cuyahoga Falls police and the FBI approached Li on Nov. 10 and interviewed him. When asked to unlock his phone, Li obliged but then deleted the string of text messages. He initially lied about erasing them, but ultimately admitted to the act and said he believed the messages were “bad,” according to court records. He also claimed he wasn’t “serious” about the threats.
Court records stated Li had a rifle stolen from him in 2014.
Li was charged with interstate threatening communications and destruction of evidence. He is expected to make a court appearance on Thursday.
The arrest comes after two mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas. A gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, killing 59 people and injuring hundreds more. Twenty-six people were killed when a shooter fired inside a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs on Nov. 5. The pair of incidents were two of the most deadly mass shootings in modern U.S. history.