A pair of Utah men are behind bars after police found numerous weapons and social media posts threatening violence against officers. Authorities in West Valley, Utah say 27-year olds Yuri Silva and Christian Hernandez were pulled over on their way to a protest in Salt Lake City, and cops found several firearms in their vehicle, including what the Deseret News describes as an Uzi with a suppressor.
In the home of Yuri Neves Silva, 27, of West Valley City, more weapons were found and seized.
Information about a potential motive was not immediately available, but police believe the two were headed to the protests to cause trouble.
“We had every reason to believe that’s what they intended to do,” Vainuku said.
Silva had posted “multiple threats of violence against police, specifically Salt Lake City police and West Valley City police” over social media and “encouraged others to take up arms against police as well, and had reportedly listed the names and addresses of specific officers to be targeted,” she said.
Silva was arrested for investigation of making a terroristic threat. Police say Silva was making multiple posts about harming police officers and was seen in one picture holding a gun, according to a police affidavit.
Silva’s not a prohibited person, but the same can’t be said for his buddy. Christian Hernandez is now facing felon in possession and drug charges after marijuana was found in the vehicle along with the firearms.
As for Silva’s alleged threats, they seem to be pretty specific in their intent.
“In one video posted on (Sunday), the suspect made a video showing himself mocking the Salt Lake City curfew, stating, ‘Hands up don’t shoot,’” while also threatening to kill police officers, the affidavit states.
“The suspect also made comments knowing officers were trying to follow his Facebook page and he directed officers to stay at home to protect their families, otherwise ‘we will have no choice but to affiliate you with your … colleagues and their actions.’
“The suspect also mentions a police officer who resides in his neighborhood and comments, ‘You put that cop car in the garage real quick play boi,’” according to the affidavit.
According to police, Silva denies that he had any actual intent to harm police officers, but admitted that he hoped his social media posts would incite others to violence. That excuse may have been more believable if Silva and Hernandez hadn’t had multiple firearms with them on their way to what was supposed to be a peaceful protest.
Thankfully, things seem to be calming down in Salt Lake City after a weekend of violence. Protests on Tuesday were loud but lawful for the most part. One person was arrested at the state capitol after protests continued long past the curfew imposed by the mayor, but that was it. If Silva and Hernandez hadn’t been apprehended, however, who knows how bad things would have gotten. The legitimate protesters may have issues with police, but they should be praising officers for their actions in thwarting what very well could have turned a peaceful protest into a bloodbath.