Norwegian man accused of threatening Portland police to make 2nd court appearance

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PORTLAND — Espen Brungodt, the 28-year-old Norwegian citizen accused of threatening to kill police, was scheduled to make his second appearance in U.S. District Court in Portland on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The court date was to continue “a combined preliminary examination and detention hearing,” according to the detention order signed by Judge John Rich III.

Brungodt, who was being held at Cumberland County Jail, is charged with making threatening interstate communications, a Class D federal felony punishable by up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $250,000.

Brungodt was arrested Aug. 3, about four hours after he allegedly threatened that assailants would “shoot and kill as many police officers as they can.”

The complaint filed against Brungodt by FBI Special Agent Patrick Clancy alleges Brungodt sent an email to Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch that said his “partners” would attack police headquarters at 109 Middle St. while Brungodt took up a position atop the Cumberland County parking garage at 188 Middle St.

The email claimed explosives were planted in the garage, and the attackers would be using high-powered rifles.

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck on Aug. 3 said police were alerted to the threats around 8:45 a.m. A search of the parking garage revealed no explosives.

Clancy said Brungodt made the same threat on the Police Department Facebook page. In the ensuing investigation, Google and Facebook shared internet addresses linked to Brungodt, while Time Warner Cable pinpointed the location the messages were sent from as the Marriott Residence Inn at 145 Fore St.

Investigators also determined Brungodt had arrived in Boston on July 26 with Arvid Andersen and Lynn Therese Brungodt. Clancy then found Lynn Therese Brungodt had checked into the hotel on Aug. 2 and was set to stay through Aug. 4.

When conducting surveillance, police and FBI agents saw a man matching Brungodt’s Facebook page and Homeland Security photos leave the room with Andersen and Lynn Therese Brungodt. He was arrested in the lobby without incident around 1 p.m.

Sauschuck said Brungodt was not armed when he was arrested and police found no weapons or explosives.

“We went from an unknown email to four hours later having somebody in custody,” Sauschuck said in a late-afternoon press conference Aug. 3.

Sauschuck said there was no indication Brungodt was linked to any organization or group.

“We do believe he acted alone,” Sauschuck said. “He seemed to be fixated on events around the country.”

Clancy said Brungodt waived his right to remain silent without an attorney present and confessed to making the threats. He said Brungodt told arresting officer the threats “had the desired effect.”

The threats were part of an unusually busy week for city police.

On Aug. 2, police closed Congress Street and removed a suspicious package from outside the building housing the office of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England at 443 Congress St. The package was not hazardous.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, police provided security for the visit by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who will host a 2 p.m. town hall meeting at Merrill Auditorium. City Hall Plaza on Congress Street was essentially split in half between Trump’s supporters and opponents through the morning and early afternoon during peaceful, but vocal demonstrations.

On Aug. 1, three people asked city councilors to review police actions taken during the July 15 protest by the Portland Racial Justice Congress in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Matthew Raymond, Deena Metzler and Iris SanGiovanni alleged people of color were initially targeted for arrest and other protesters were punched or had their arms twisted as arrests were made.

City leaders, including Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Manager Jon Jennings, had praised Sauschuck and police for their response to the protest, where demonstrators closed a portion of Commercial Street for more than three hours. Those arrested were charged with obstructing a public way.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck on Aug. 3 said there were “direct and pointed threats” made against police officers earlier in the morning.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.