LAS CRUCES – A Las Cruces man faces charges after police say he threatened to burn down New Mexico State University.
John Hamilton, 54, faces cases in state and federal court after police arrested him on July 27. In state court, Hamilton is charged with a misdemeanor charge of use of telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend. In federal court, Hamilton faces one count of interstate threats. According to the federal criminal complaint, the FBI said Hamilton called staff members at NMSUs Office of Institutional Equality.
"I'll burn your f---king entire school down in thirty f---king minutes. There won't be enough fire trucks in the area to put it out," Hamilton said according to quotes from recorded voice messages.
It’s unclear if Hamilton’s threats were politically motivated or of a personal vendetta. In an affidavit written by an NMSU police officer, the officer quotes a Hamilton as saying in a voice message: “I don’t care if I take lives, It doesn’t matter to me, they’re all garbage. The human race is garbage. I’ve made no threats in my mind."
The officer writes that Hamilton “continues ranting about B.L.M. then curses ‘f--k you people. I’ll be happy if you all die. If I choose which I have not, if I did I could have the entire campus burning at 1,200 degrees.”
The NMSU officer did specify if Hamilton meant the Black Lives Matter movement or the Bureau of Land Management. Both entities have the drawn the ire of political conspiracists in recent years.
The NMSU officer also said that staff at the Office of Institutional Equality, which houses and investigates student conduct complaints, were aware of Hamilton prior to the phone calls. The staff told police that Hamilton had multiple student conduct complaints lodged against him. The staff said that Hamilton had left messages with the office that they described as perverted.
The two sets of charges are on two separate tracks. After Hamilton was arraigned in both federal and state courts, he was released from jail earlier this month.
Justin Garcia covers crime, courts and public safety. He can be reached via email at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com.
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Las Cruces man charged after FBI says he threatened to burn down NMSU