FBI: Ex-Valdosta State University employee made death threats against college faculties

Shawn Charles Merdinger

Combined ShapeCaption
Shawn Charles Merdinger

A former Valdosta State University employee is accused of making death threats against faculty members at several colleges across the country, according to the FBI.

Shawn Charles Merdinger, 50, of Lake Park, was charged by criminal complaint for sending threatening emails to universities in California, Georgia, Indiana and Texas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a news release.

Merdinger was an assistant director for IT information security at Valdosta State between 2014 and 2016, according to a university spokeswoman.

Between Thursday and Sunday, Merdinger is accused of sending the threatening emails to addresses affiliated with employees at six college institutions, including Valdosta State, the release said. The messages contained threats of “extreme violence” against the recipients and himself, the FBI said.

The others that were targeted include the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Indiana, University of Texas and the University System of Georgia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the University of Texas recipient was sent a particularly detailed message that said:

“I am going to roll on faculty and execute you in your homes in alphabetical order. You might as well shut that place down. Here on out, any school faculty or student is going to be a personal, high value target for me. I’m coming in there. You better run.”

On Sunday, Merdinger was arrested at his home in Lake Park by the FBI.

The FBI credited Valdosta State police, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the universities that received the threats for making the arrest possible.

Merdinger was booked into the Tift County Jail, where he remains, according to online jail records.

He made an initial court appearance Monday through the use of a videoconferencing call, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. His next hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

In other news:

Combined ShapeCaption
The complaint says Paul Howard failed to report the non-profit that he founded.