Rolla man accused of threatening church congregations

11 months 2 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, October 31 2018 Oct 31, 2018 Wednesday, October 31, 2018 11:19:51 AM CDT October 31, 2018 in News
By: Steve Lambson, News Content Manager

ROLLA - Prosecutors charged a man on Tuesday after he allegedly made threats toward a church.

Joshua Anderson, 41, faces one count of making a terroristic threat. Authorities said Anderson is homeless and has been staying at The Rolla Mission, where he has access to the internet.

According to court documents, Anderson posted on Facebook on October 27, talking about "why church shootings were a good idea." When police talked to him on Sunday, Anderson reportedly said he was angry at his uncle and his uncle's church, the First Assembly of God in Rolla. Police said he also admitted to posting on Facebook "so that everyone would know how corrupt the church was."

Investigators found messages on Anderson's Facebook page saying things like, "A mass shooting...oh goodie goodie" and "Was it a church...hopefully a bunch of dead Christian youth...those parasites need to stop breeding." Police said he further posted about how he'd kill a Christian, saying he would "nail them to a [expletive] tree and then set them on fire," including other religions like Islam and Judaism in his statements.

According to the probable cause statement, Anderson then checked in on the First Assembly of God Facebook page, taking pictures of the sign and posting them online. That prompted the church to cancel an evening service.

On Monday, the church told police Anderson had made a new Facebook profile and claimed to be late serial killer Geoffrey Dahmer, while trying to add the church as a Facebook friend. He reportedly posted on the pages of the First Assembly of God churches in St. James and Steelville, and said he "hoped these [expletives] are scared for their life." Both added extra security details for their services.

Anderson's first court appearance is scheduled for November 6.

The arrest happened just a few days after suspected shooter Robert Bowers allegedly shot and killed eleven people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Authorities are investigating the shootings as hate crimes.

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