DETROIT – A Michigan man was arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with illegally possessing firearms after having been committed to a mental institution and while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison. The man came to the attention of the FBI after he made numerous threats over YouTube to kill FBI agents, members of the LGBTQ community, President Biden, and Governor Whitmer.
Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Randall Robert Berka II, 30, of Sebewaing, Michigan, was illegally in possession of four firearms, three long guns and a pistol, after he had been committed to a mental institution and while he was a daily user of marijuana. Berka also was in possession of ammunition and body armor. The firearms were previously purchased for Berka by a relative who now feared that his mental health treatment was not working and was scared of Berka. The relative cooperated with FBI agents in securing the complaint.
The complaint further provides that Berka came to the attention of the FBI after Google reported to the agency that Berka was posting various threats on YouTube. Among other statements, Berka posted the following: “im going to kill these democrats biden deserves to die,” “im gonna kill lgbt freaks,” “you could be like me and get guns and threaten to kill politicians. Im more than willing tot kill whitmer and I do live in Michigan,” “Ill assault her . . . with my bullets,” and “i buy guns though and plot to kill people.”
The FBI arrested Berka at his residence in Sebewaing on Thursday, March 9, 2023. He will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court today in the Bay City, Michigan courthouse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will be asking the Court to hold Berka in pretrial detention because of his danger to the community and the risk that he will flee.
“We will take immediate action when we learn of individuals illegally possessing firearms and threatening to harm or kill others,” said U.S. Attorney Ison. “I applaud Google’s vigilance in this matter, and we hope members of the community will, likewise, pay attention and report such conduct to law enforcement.”
“This defendant’s actions were very alarming,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “When free speech crosses a line and becomes a threat of violence against another – aggravated by the illegal possession of firearms – the full investigative resources of the FBI will be brought to bear. As always, we encourage the public to be vigilant and report concerning behavior to the FBI and local law enforcement.”
Based on the charges in the complaint, Berka faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Vance.