Social media threats lead to arrest of Wamego man

WAMEGO (KSNT) – Police are investigating threats made online by a Wamego man before going into work.

Between 4 and 5:30 p.m. on March 17, Erik Billis posted twice on his Facebook page. The latter post garnering more than 20 comments and warnings to delete the incendiary words.

At 5:24 p.m. Billis wrote what has been perceived as a threat against his employer, Caterpillar, and his coworkers.

“I have officially snapped…. When a shooting spree sounds fun to go on at a place where you hate everyone…. oh the agony…..Lmao is that better or is everyone still butt hurt..” Billis wrote. Less than an hour before, he also said “If only murder was legal.”

Friends warned Billis to take the posts down saying he could lose his job. But he said “thank God I don’t have anyone at work (on) my Facebook.”

But the post was reported.

“Apparently a coworker saw it and then reported it,” said Wamego Police Chief Michael Baker.

After police were alerted, officers arrived at the Caterpillar plant in Wamego and arrested Billis without incident. He has been charged with making a criminal threat. He was booked into the Pottawatomie County Jail in Westmoreland.

In situations like this, Baker said he relies on residents to be observant.

“Wamego is a small police department,” he said. “We don’t have access to the resources to monitor online stuff.

According to Baker, 85 percent of the police departments in the state are in the same position. He said those departments have 10 officers or less.

How does Caterpillar monitor threats against the company? Representatives from the company would not disclose any internal policies. They would not comment about the status of Billis’ employment with Caterpillar. They also refused to comment on how the company handles workplace violence in general.

 

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