So far, two death threats against California Governor Jerry Brown have been found by Santa Ana police, scrawled in graffiti on street-side walls and setting February 14th- Valentine’s Day- as the date for the threatened assassination attempt. Police are investigating a link to similar graffiti from earlier this month, which called for violence against Catholics and directed racial slurs at ethnic minorities.
Police were called early Thursday morning to investigate the first of the graffiti death threats on a busy Santa Ana street, which read “We gonna kill GOV. BROWN 2/14/11.” A few hours later, another Santa Ana police officer discovered a second graffiti threat saying “26 MORE DAYS 4 BROWN” with a swastika painted next to it and the 26 covering up a 27 to suggest a countdown toward February 14th and the threatened attempt on Gov. Brown’s life.
Santa Ana’s police spokesman, Corporal Anthony Bertagna said:
“We’re taking this very seriously, of course, especially when they put out swastikas and threaten the governor, and with all that’s going on in Tucson we have to take this seriously.”
Bertagna was obviously referring to the recent shooting massacre which killed a sitting federal judge and nine-year-old girl, among others, and critically wounded a U.S. Congresswoman. While the only suspect in the Tucson shooting, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has shown every sign of severe mental illness- rather than any coherent political or ideological motivations for his violent rampage- the swastika in one of this week’s death threats, as well as the possible connection to earlier ethnically-charged graffiti has police worried that this is an ideologically motivated act of terrorism against ethnic minorities and Roman Catholics. Gov. Jerry Brown is a Roman Catholic who attended private Jesuit schools throughout his life and even studied at a Jesuit seminary for some time to become a Catholic priest.
The Santa Ana homicide department is continuing to investigate the case in concert with the California Highway Patrol. All media inquiries to the governor’s office are being referred to the California Highway Patrol, which has the following statement for the public:
“The CHP takes seriously any threat made to a public official and investigates each one. For security and investigatory reasons, the CHP does not discuss details of any threats or the investigative steps taken to identify those responsible for making them.”