Fort Meade Contractor Charged With Threatening Florida Congresswoman

    A Westminster man working at Fort Meade has been charged in federal court with threatening to kill a Florida congresswoman.

    Darryl Albert Varnum, 42, was indicted Wednesday on the federal charge of threatening a federal official.

    He was arrested July 8 and on July 10 was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner to complete a 28-day inpatient program at the Shoemaker Center in Sykesville. The charge carries a 10-year maximum penalty.

    According to a federal indictment, Varnum was behaving erratically when he left a voicemail and a public Facebook message threatening the Florida congresswoman, who is identified only as “Congressperson #1.” The Daily Beast identified the recipient of the threat as Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Florida).

    Varnum was upset by a bill sponsored by Wilson that would require public schools to vaccinate children before receiving federal funding.

    In an expletive-laced voicemail left June 28, Varnum threatened to kill her.

    “If you’re taking away my rights. This is the United States of America, b—-. Get the f— out,” the voicemail said. “I will come down there and personally f—ing kill you. I am dead f—ing serious.”

    About 12 minutes later, around 7:35 p.m., the first of two threatening posts were made to Facebook.

    According to the indictment, Varnum had access to a permitted Ruger pistol and worked as a contractor at the Defense Information Systems Agency at Fort Meade.

    The indictment was unsealed this week, during tense political rhetoric about race and an increasing number of threats made to members of Congress.

    U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, during a hearing Tuesday before the House Committee on Administration, told lawmakers that threats against them continue to grow, USA Today reported. During fiscal 2018, there were 4,894 threat cases handled by the police agency. So far this year, there are 2,502 cases, a rate that could exceed last year’s record.

    An arraignment and detention hearing for Varnum is scheduled for Aug. 5 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

    [email protected]

    Did someone forward this to you?
    Get your own daily morning news roundup in your inbox. Free. Sign up here.

    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.