Sacramento man accused of mailing death threats to police, pastors and gay people

Darnell Ray Owens, 32, pictured in an undated Department of Motor Vehicles photograph, is facing federal charges after prosecutors say he sent threatening letters to police and government officials.
(U.S. District Court)

A Sacramento man is behind bars this week after prosecutors say he sent dozens of letters — some containing white powder — threatening to kill police officers, government officials, members of the LGBTQ community and white people to try to incite a race war.

Darnell Ray Owens, 32, was arrested in Oklahoma on Friday, the same day officials filed a sealed complaint in federal court in Sacramento charging him with mailing threatening communications and conducting a hoax involving biological weapons. He has not yet entered a plea.

Federal investigators allege in the 36-page complaint, which was made public Monday, that Owens sent about 45 threatening letters between February and March to several locations in Sacramento County, including an LGBTQ center, the Sacramento and Elk Grove police departments, the district attorney’s office and a television station.

“You have failed this city and the people. So I am making a threat on your Life, I will assassinate you with a bullet to your head, you will not survive I will watch your body shake as the life in you leaves,” Owens wrote to Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, according to the affidavit.

He also is accused of sending letters to the police department in San Antonio and a Baptist church in Dallas, in which he threatened to assassinate the pastor “in the name of Allah” and “burn down Christian churches.”


In a letter to the West Sacramento Police Department in March, Owens allegedly wrote that he wanted to kill a “cop and drink his white blood,” the affidavit states.

Investigators allege he also threatened to kill members of the LGBTQ community in Sacramento.

Federal officials said they compared DNA evidence from a birthday card Owens sent to an acquaintance to DNA on the mailed letters in an effort to link him to the threats. Federal investigators also noted in the court filing the letters show a “distinct handwriting style” and the diction and threats contained in them are consistent.

If convicted, Owens faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento.

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