Man arrested after posting Instagram video threatening to shoot up empty middle school
A 31-year-old man was in jail Friday, accused of posting a threatening video on Instagram in which he said he wanted to fire an assault rifle into an empty middle school in hopes that police would respond to the scene and kill him.
Daniel Julio Dominguez, 31, who was arrested Thursday, was jailed on complaints of terrorism and making threats. He was held in the Alachua County Jail in lieu of a $2 million bond. Sheriff’s deputies listed Dominguez’s home address as his parents' home in Gainesville, but he was a registered voter using an address in Tallahassee, where records show he attended Florida State University.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement saw the video Dominguez was accused of posting on Instagram on Thursday afternoon and warned local law enforcement, who quickly tracked down Dominguez using his cellphone. The video – filmed in his parents' home in Gainesville west of the city limits – showed Dominguez with an assault rifle and a black handgun, the sheriff’s office said.
The video was marked, “This is an art piece,” deputies said, but law enforcement took the threat seriously.
The sheriff’s office did not identify which school may have been at risk. Gainesville police determined that Dominguez previously lived near Parker Elementary, but property records showed that his parents moved to a home less than one mile from Kanapaha Middle School in 1991, when Dominguez would have been in middle school.
Dominguez’s father declined to discuss his son’s arrest Friday.
An employee at Kanapaha Middle School on Friday declined to comment and quickly hung up the phone.
In the video, Dominguez said: “I have decided to take up arms and attack the state. I intend to target a middle school, particularly the middle school I went to,” and added, “I will be going on a Saturday or Sunday when no children are there with the intention of getting off as many NATO .556 rounds from my AR-15 at the building.” He said he hoped the police would kill him.
In the four-minute Instagram video, a copy of which was obtained by WUFT News, Dominguez called himself "Daniel" and is seen seated cross-legged wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals on the wood floor of his parents' home with the rifle on his right and what he described as a fake but authentic-looking Beretta handgun on his left side.
He complained in the video that others less worthy than himself have had more opportunities based on their status, said he had accumulated $64,000 in student debt and that he was lonely: "The conditions for social reproduction aren't really there," he said, just before picking up the assault rifle and holding it across his chest.
He said the middle school he was planning to target was "just right down the street there" and was familiar and convenient to him because he attended that school. Kanahapa Middle School is just minutes from the home where he recorded the video.
"I hope and expect the police to arrive on scene and to shoot me at this point," he said. He said he wouldn't point the rifle at responding officers but planned to aim the fake handgun at officers to provoke them to fire "and send me to hell, or whatever." He aimed the pistol at the camera briefly in the video.
"I'm a product of what this country is creating," he said.
In the description of the video, Dominguez implored his Instagram followers not to contact law enforcement or report the video. "I would like to enjoy my freedom of movement and not go to jail for art," he wrote. It was unclear why Dominguez would believe no one would take the video seriously.
When police arrested Dominguez in northeast Gainesville, Dominguez said the guns in the video were at his parents’ home. When police asked him at their headquarters whether Dominguez knew why he was there, he told them it was because of the Instagram video and asked to speak with a lawyer. Sheriff’s deputies found an assault rifle at the parents’ home.
On an art blog six years ago, Dominguez described himself as fascinated with "a beautiful but increasingly anti-social world" and said society suffers from "massive inequality, alienation, and a collapsing environment."
"If I knew I was going to die in a week, I would continue to face the world and work for the people that make it," he wrote.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing email@example.com.