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updated: 5/20/2013 7:14 PM

McHenry man arrested for threatening ambassador, Serbs

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U.S. State Department agents on Saturday arrested a 48-year-old McHenry man who authorities say threatened to kill the U.S. ambassador in Serbia along with Serbians living in the Chicago area.

According to the complaint, Russell K. Gordon -- a U.S. citizen who lived in Serbia from 1996 to November 2012 -- sent threatening text messages to the U.S. Embassy consular in Belgrade, Serbia, related to a visa dispute involving his wife, a Serbian woman who had a child with a Serbian man who was awarded custody by a Serbian court in September 2012.

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Authorities said that on Sept. 16, 2012, Gordon sent an email to the U.S. consular in Belgrade, stating that if the custody dispute was not "resolved in our favor, I will play God with Serbian families, and as a silver-medalist (2005) in 200-yard open-sights rifle, there isn't a (expletive) thing the U.S. authorities or the Serbs can do to prevent it."

The complaint alleges Gordon went on to say, "Chicago is a target-rich-environment, with one out of every 32 people of Serbian ethnicity. Churches, schools, social clubs, diplomats, etc. If the U.S. can't protect their embassy personnel, I highly doubt they can protect such soft targets. They may have their spite, but I can and will exact my vengeance."

During the time he lived in Serbia, Gordon was sentenced to seven months in prison for attacking another person with a knife, federal authorities said in a prepared statement.

Interviewed Nov. 22, 2012, after he returned to the Chicago area from Serbia, Gordon told federal authorities he wrote the email "in a fit of rage and had no intention of carrying out the threat," authorities said.

In February and March, authorities say, Gordon sent text messages to an assistant at the U.S. consulate demanding visas for his wife and her child and threatening anyone who failed to accommodate his demands. He followed up with similar emails to the FBI in April at which time agents warned him in person to stop making threats, which Gordon stated were meant to intimidate state department officials into helping him reunite his family, authorities said.

They said that on Saturday, Gordon's wife contacted the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and told them Gordon was enraged to learn she would be issued only a two-week visa and that he threatened to kill the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, his wife and their children.

Gordon appeared in court Monday and remains in custody pending a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a U.S. Attorney spokesman said.

If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.

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