A Santa Ana man accused of posting a series of Instagram messages harassing relatives and friends of victims of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting has been charged with cyberstalking. Federal prosecutors allege that, for over a year, Brandon Fleury has harassed and taunted some who knew the shooting victims, at times cheering the death of their loved ones, asking them to cry, or threatening to kidnap them.
Fleury was then arrested on Friday, just after the FBI carried out a search warrant at his home. Fleury told investigators that he posted the messages “in attempt to taunt or troll” the victims and gain popularity, according to the affidavit from FBI Special Agent Cameron McDowell. Fleury admitted specifically targeting family members of victims he considered to be activists, and who had a large social media presence, the agent wrote. The posts were written by an Instagram user named “nikolas.killed.your.sister,” an apparent reference to Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland school shooter. Among a series of messages, some stated, “I killed your loved ones hahaha,” “Your grief is my joy,” “I stole your sister’s future, buddy, with the power of my AR-15.” Similar series of messages were sent to the loved ones of the shooting victims through December and early January, including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those receiving the messages said they were most concerned by a message sent on Christmas Day saying, “I’m your abductor, I’m kidnapping you fool.” The direct threats led Instagram to voluntarily reveal to law enforcement the IP address used by the poster, according to court records, which led investigators to an account assigned to Fleury’s father.
According to the affidavit, Fleury claimed the messages were not threats but “more like taunts.” Fleury said he used multiple Instagram accounts, since he expected the company to shut some of them down due to complaints. He also acknowledged having a “fascination” with Cruz, mass shooters, and serial killers such as Ted Bundy. “Fleury did not show remorse for posting the comments, but explained he would not follow through on the threats he communicated,” the FBI alleged. Each charge Fleury faces carries a fine or a maximum jail sentenced of five years. To learn more about harassing messages and criminal threats, click here.