Survivors and families of victims lost during the 2018 Parkland shooting received threats and harassment from one man from Southern California. Now, that individual, 22-year-old Brandon Michael Fleury, received a sentence of 5 years for his persistent online attacks.
The sentence Monday follows Fleury’s guilty verdict from October. Then, a federal jury in Florida convicted him of interstate cyberstalking and interstate transmission of a threat to kidnap.
He created a series of 13 Instagram accounts to taunt and intimidate the Parkland shooting survivors. Among his messages sent to them, he threated to shoot them with the same rifle used during the 2018 assault, an AR-15.
Prosecutors quoted him as saying “with the power of my AR-15, you all die.”
His apparent goal in taunting the survivors and grieving families focused on popularity online. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, several students lifted their voices to demand government action. Several rose to prominence, gaining a following united in their calls for gun control.
As a result, their political activism drew ire from certain factions. It remains unclear where Fleury sought recognition online from reports, but he admitted to investigators his campaign of harassment aimed “to taunt or ‘troll’ the victims and gain popularity” online.
Part of Fleury’s defense involved claims of autism. However, several mental health experts confirmed he understood what he was doing.
The Parkland shooting took place on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Nikolas Cruz fired on faculty and the student body of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, resulting in 17 deaths. He confessed after his capture, and remains in custody awaiting trial. Prosecutors seek the death penalty in his case.