The AR-15 rifle seized by police. Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department

The AR-15 rifle seized by police. Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department

Man arrested in Snoqualmie for threatening Seattle church is charged

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office charged a 25-year-old man for emailing pastors: “Time to engage the artillery and kill you all.”

On Tuesday, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office charged a 25-year-old Covington man with felony harassment for threatening violence against a Seattle church, according to charging documents. Seattle Police arrested Edeek Grigorovich Goga at his landscaping job in Snoqualmie on November 9 and detectives later confiscated an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle from his Covington home. He was placed in King County Jail, but was released on bail five days later, according to jail records.

On the evening of October 26, Edeek Grigorovich Goga reportedly sent threatening emails to two pastors at the Cross and Crown Church in the University District, which he had previously attended. It was the first time Goga had contacted any of the church members since allegedly threatening to burn down the building a year and a half ago. The October emails to the pastors contained criticism of the church for recommending that Goga seek medical treatment: “Time to engage the artillery and kill you all,” they read, in part. Although the church hadn’t reported the previous arson threat, the pastors did alert SPD of the emails because they feared that Goga might act upon his threats.

About two weeks earlier, a photo of an assault rifle with a can of ammunition inside a car was posted to a Facebook page under Goga’s name. The photo caption read: “Going on an adventure.”

Then on November 7, two days after 26 people were killed in a church by a gunman in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Goga allegedly sent an email to Cross and Crown Pastor Adam Christiansen containing a reference to the rampage: “It saddens me that you guys weren’t the ones shot instead of the ones in Texas. I’m hoping someone finds it in their hurts (sic) to burn you all alive in your church building.”

Although prosecutors stated that Goga had no record of criminal history, he reportedly displayed a pattern of threatening violence towards churches. According to a Bellevue police report, Goga threatened to shoot everyone in attendance at a church group meeting in a private Bellevue home on October 9. The alleged victim did not pursue the case because he said that Goga later apologized.

According to the charging documents, Goga told police that he was angry at the Cross and Crown Church for not helping him overcome his depression, but that they “should have known that he did not intend to carry through with his threat.”

Goga’s arraignment is scheduled for November 27 at 8:30 a.m., according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

mhellmann@soundpublishing.com

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