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Police: Man upset with mask mandate threatened Wichita mayor

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A retired firefighter who was upset with Wichita’s mask ordinance was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor of Kansas’ largest city, authorities said.

Police said the 59-year-old suspect who was arrested Friday could face a charge of criminal threat, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple, a Democrat, said someone had read him text messages received by another city official that asked about the mayor’s address and threatened his life.

“He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman — me and everyone who, something about tyranny,” Whipple said.

“It sounded like the person was very upset about pretty much mask mandates and he said something about not being able to see his mother because of COVID restrictions on elderly homes,” he said.

Wichita police spokesman Charley Davidson said that no other local officials are believed to have been targeted.

The arrest comes more than a week after authorities said they thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Authorities allege members of two anti-government paramilitary groups took part in plotting in that case. Six men are charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the Democratic governor. Eight others are charged in state court with counts including providing material support for terrorist acts.

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