American man arrested after returning from Thailand charged with making threats against GOP senator

A criminal complaint filed in December 2021 against Eric Charles Welton, 51, said that he threatened “to assault and murder United States Senator Thom Tillis.”

The FBI arrested an American man living in Thailand upon his return to the US after charges were filed against him for making death threats against a Republican senator and his aides, claiming he was motivated by the hundreds of unsolicited GOP fundraising emails in his inbox. 

A criminal complaint was first filed in December 2021 against Eric Charles Welton, 51, stating that on September 29, 2021, Welton “did threaten to assault and murder United States Senator Thom Tillis” during a phone call placed to the office of Senator Tillis (R-NC).

According to the official complaint, Welton stated, “You guys can contact me, but I can't contact you. Maybe I just gotta [sic] go down there to 310 New Bern Avenue and just kill everybody I see,” Politico reported.

As per the criminal complaint, Welton “suggested that he was living in a war zone created by former President Trump and stated, ‘the last thing you want is me crawling through your f*cking back yard.’” During his phone calls, Welton used multiple expletives while threatening violence. He also said, “I should fly back over there, walk into 310 New Bern Avenue and teach you what ‘Stand My Ground’ means, put a bullet through each of your heads.”

Welton’s father, referred to in the criminal complaint as “R. Welton,” was interviewed by the FBI. R. Welton said that his son is a socialist, and that at the start of the pandemic in 2020, his son came to the US and lived with him until September 2020 before returning to Thailand.

Threatening phone calls were also placed to the office of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) by Welton. Sen. Burr was among the seven Senators who voted to impeach President Trump. In these calls, Welton identified himself by name, and specifically mentioned the flood of unsolicited emails as his motivation for the threats. According to the criminal complaint, “The caller consistently referred to his receipt of a large number of unsolicited emails from the Republican Party, and organizations associated with the Republican Party, indicating that these emails motivated his anger and hostility towards Sen. Burr and Sen. Tillis.” He also said that “he would find the person that decided to send him emails and ‘cut their f*cking hands off and shove them up their f*cking a**.’”

The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina, stated that Eric Charles Welton, age 51, also “made threats against US Marines and others working the US Consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in late 2022.” Welton was arrested by the FBI at the Atlanta airport last week.

FBI Charlotte Special Agent in Charge Robert M. DeWitt said in a statement, "it is unacceptable to make violent threats against anyone. And when threats are directed at elected officials or members of the armed forces it can impact their ability to serve our country effectively."

Senator Tillis was a supporter of the appointment of Attorney General Merrick Garland.  In October 2022, Garland wrote: “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.”

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