Notes appearing to threaten children left in public buildings lead to arrest of Juneau man

Notes appearing to threaten children left in public buildings lead to arrest of Juneau man
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 10:44 AM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2023 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Anonymous notes with messages that appeared to be threatening children that were posted on the walls of public buildings have resulted in an arrest Sunday night.

Mitchell Thomas Watley, 47, of Juneau, was arrested Sunday in connection to the notes, which Juneau police say were posted in three separate locations across town. Police said they received help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Charging documents indicate the notes refer to a recent school shooting and suggest a connection between violence and transgender people. Watley told the police he was afraid of the recent transgender school shooter “and took it upon himself to print out and distribute these leaflets.”

The department said in a release that the first report of the notes came around 6:45 a.m. Friday morning in a store on Willoughby Avenue in downtown Juneau. That resulted in the police department notifying the Juneau School District about the issue.

“Prior to these reports, a plan for additional police presence had been implemented at the schools due to national rallies/attention to recent school violence incidents,” the department said.

Later on Friday, a similar note was found on a bulletin board in the State Office Building, also on Willoughby Avenue.

Police said another two notes were found Sunday morning at Costco.

It was then that police said they were able to identify a man who they believe was involved in passing the notes out by reviewing security footage of the alcohol section of the store.

Police said officers and FBI agents found Watley at a home on Sixth Street around 7 p.m. Sunday and arrested him. He was charged with one count of second-degree terroristic threatening and taken to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.