Missouri man pleads guilty to threatening sheriff’s department

Guilty Plea

A Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening over the internet to injure employees of the Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department.

Joshua L. Bippert, 27, of Branson, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to one count of transmitting a threat across state lines to injure another person.

By pleading guilty, Bippert admitted that he communicated the threat over the internet to the sheriff’s department on Sept. 20, 2020. Bippert sent a private message in response to a social media post on the department’s Instagram account. The Instagram post documented the arrest of a felon in possession of a firearm. Bippert wrote: “Recently a couple of your officers arrested a man for owning a firearm. If you want more of your officers to end up like the two that got shot while sitting in their patrol car then go ahead and keep the charges. Release the man who did nothing wrong but keep his second amendment rights or there will be blood. This is a threat.” (sic) Bippert’s message presumably referred to the Sept. 12, 2020, ambush by a gunman on two sheriff’s deputies sitting in their patrol car.

The next day, Bippert commented on the sheriff’s department post: “for me, the most irritating part is living in the midwest and not on the border to California where I could take a nice short drive to water the tree of liberty.” (sic)

Investigators also saw a post from Bippert in which he tagged the sheriff’s department: “Forget the constitution. We need to end gun control by any means necessary. Yes I do mean violence.” (sic)

Under federal statutes, Bippert is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark. It was investigated by the FBI, the Taney County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department.