According to charging documents on June 26, Isaac Ambe Nformangum, aged 22, allegedly called the senator’s Houston office regarding Republican opposition to legislation regarding elections. Nformangum accused Cruz and other Republicans of working to have voting rights repealed and then threatened violence.
A transcript of the phone call provided by investigators quotes Nformangum as saying, “Every last one of your Republican colleagues to have signed off on that platform is to be found and, is to be found and killed, be it by a bullet to the face or by the smashing of a brick in your skull. It is a civic duty of every American citizen or resident to see to it that every last one of your colleagues is to be killed. Killed. Be it by finding you in a public space or by trailing you to your very, by your very public homes.”
“You and every one of your colleagues is to be shot dead. Found and killed.”
Following an investigation conducted by Harris County sheriff’s deputies, the district attorney’s office filed charges against Nformangum of making a felony-level Terroristic Threat, and he was taken into custody on July 2.
Although the Harris County District Attorney’s Office (HCDAO) motioned for his bond to be set at $250,000, on July 3, magistrate Cheryl Harris Diggs for the 177th Criminal District Court ordered Nformangum released on a pre-trial personal bond of $2,500.
Under the conditions of pre-trial personal bonds, however, defendants may be released without posting bail or paying fees. The court coordinator for the 177th Court confirmed to The Texan that Nformangum did not have to pay anything for his release from the jail system.
After Nformangum failed to appear at a July 8 court setting, the HCDAO motioned for bond forfeiture and authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. If he is recaptured he is slated to be held without bond but at the time of publication, he had not been taken into custody.
According to the Harris County District Clerk’s records, Nformangum’s financial statement documents requesting a court-appointed attorney state that he works as a security guard with Dallas-based iidon Security Associates.
The threats allegedly voiced by Nformangum follow a spate of threats and harassment aimed at Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. In one instance, a man armed with a pistol and knife was arrested outside of the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and demonstrators have been harassing other justices and family members at their homes and other locations.
Following the threat against Kavanaugh last month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement saying, “The Justice Department will not tolerate violence of threats of violence or threats of violence against judges or any other public servants at work, home, or any other location.” But Cruz has questioned his sincerity and accused Garland of refusing to act.
On Monday, Cruz sent a letter to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, requesting that Garland attend a committee hearing next week to detail the steps the Department of Justice is taking to protect Supreme Court justices.
While U.S. law (18 USC 351) gives federal law enforcement agencies jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute when “two or more persons conspire to kill or kidnap” a member of congress, threats from a single individual are deferred to local law enforcement.
Harris County courts have been frequently in the news since 2019 regarding low bonds and release of suspects on multiple felony bonds, with Crime Stoppers of Houston reporting that at least 177 county residents have been murdered allegedly by suspects out on multiple bonds.
Crime Stoppers of Houston automatically offers up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of any felony suspects.
Update: On Tuesday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office told the state Senate Committee on Finance that the U.S. Marshals have taken Nformangum into federal custody.
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Holly Hansen is a regional reporter for The Texan living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.