London, KY – The Kentucky State Police have arrested a man who posted two photos showing someone holding a gun behind police vehicles in an implied threat.
Detectives arrested Kyle Childress, on May 18 after a two-week long investigation, according to WLKY-TV.
The first photo, taken behind a state police patrol vehicle, showed up on social media in early May. A few days later, a similar photo taken outside the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, was also posted, according to WLKY.
Both pictures showed someone holding a gun near the steering wheel while behind police vehicles.
Police took the photos seriously and launched an investigation immediately.
Kentucky State Trooper Lloyd Cochran said police were “just trying to find out what his intent is, whether it's a joke or what, we're taking it very serious."
"We've got all of our troopers and personnel on high alert right now," Trooper Cochran told reporters on May 15. "If you're in a police car and you're looking in your rear-view mirror, or beside the car, beside of you, if they're not holding it up where you can see it, you're not going to be able to see it."
Investigators asked for the public’s help in identifying the person who posted the photos to a fake Facebook account, and said they believed he was driving a 2007 to 2012 Nissan Altima.
"If they see someone with a firearm in their vehicle taking pictures of troopers or police officers on the side of the road, please call us and let us know," Trooper Cochran requested.
Police turned to digital experts in Frankfort for help tracking down the poster through online activity, WKYT reported.
The investigation determined that 28-year-old Childress was the source of both photos.
Childress was charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, according to WLKY.
Police departments around the country have been opening investigations into threats against officers posted to social media.
On May 16, another man who threatened an officer on Facebook was arrested in Salinas, California.
Jason Marquez, 45, was arrested for threatening the police officer who arrested him in September 2017 after he threw gasoline in his neighbor’s face, the Monterey Herald reported.
Since his arrest, Marquez continually threatened the officer with injury and even challenged him to a fight via Facebook.
On May 9, he posted about being a martyr and talked about “destroying (the officer) even it costs me my own life."
Marquez also mentioned a gun and a shovel in the post and cited the police officer’s personnel number, according to the Monterey Herald.
Detectives got a search warrant for the home where Marquez lives with his parents, and found a .12 gauge shotgun, a .38 caliber handgun, and a .38 caliber revolver during their search.
Marquez was arrested and taken to jail. His bail was set at $200,000, the Monterey Herald reported.