A man from Columbus, Ohio, was visited by Secret Service agents after making a Facebook comment on March 7 referencing a bomb in relation to presidential candidates.
Gary Barry commented on a private post from WCMH reporter Candace Lee that announced a visit to Columbus by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for a debate.
"I jokingly said, ‘where do I send the bomb?’” Barry told the station.
His comment prompted response from fellow residents who were shocked by the reference to an explosive.
"Wow you really typed that for the world to see?" one reader replied. "Secret Service and FBI will be knocking on YOUR door."
The commenter was right.
"The next day I thought about it. But I was like, ‘hey, it’s the Internet. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.’ So I didn’t think no more about it till yesterday," Barry said. Someone contacted the Secret Service about the comment, prompting an investigation.
"I received a phone call from my son saying there were two gentlemen at the door from the Secret Service. And I thought he was kidding. But he wasn’t and they actually waited for me to get home," he said. The agents questioned him and his wife for 30 minutes, and knew nearly everything about him.
"They were asking me if I was a racist, if I was anti-Muslim. And, do I have any thoughts of suicide or thoughts of assassinating the vice president or president," he told WCMH. Columbus' Secret Service officers confirmed an ongoing investigation into Barry's comment was launched.
Resident Agent-In-Charge Jonathan Shuck said that it is standard procedure to investigate social media threats against the president and vice president -- a chargeable offense with a penalty of up to five years in prison.
Barry said the agents advised him to "watch" what he says on Facebook as they left his home.
The 2016 presidential election has garnered its share of controversy and tension at the rallies of candidates, including a fight between a Secret Service agent and a Time magazine photographer at a Donald Trump rally on Feb. 29.
"The Secret Service is working with local law enforcement to try to get to the bottom of what exactly happened," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters of the incident with the photographer, according to Reuters.
"The leadership of the Secret Service has indicated that they'll take appropriate steps based on the conclusion of that investigation."