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DHS warns of violence targeting gov't, minority communities ahead of 2024 election

A man in Allen, Texas, pays his respects before crosses marking the eight victims of a May 6 mass shooing at a local shopping mall shooting. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
A man in Allen, Texas, pays his respects before crosses marking the eight victims of a May 6 mass shooing at a local shopping mall shooting. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security is warning the public of the threat of terrorism targeting the government and minority communities in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election and as legislatures and the judiciary make decisions on sociopolitical issues.

The National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin was issued by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday as the country has experienced several ideologically driven mass shootings and attacks in the past few months.

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The advisory warns that lone offenders and small groups motivated by an array of beliefs and grievances continue to pose a threat to the country, with potential targets including critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQ+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities and government facilities and personnel.

"In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to remain heightened and that individuals may be motivated to violence by perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues," the DHS said in a statement.

The advisory highlights recent attacks, including the May 6 Allen, Texas, mass shooting by 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia who the DHS described as a man fixated on mass shootings who held racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist views and involuntary celebrate violent extremist ideologies. Eight people were killed in the shooting and seven others were injured. Garcia died by police gunfire.

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Other incidents mentioned include the March mass shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tenn., that left six people dead; and the March fire bombing of a Ohio church by an alleged White supremacist over the facility's plans to hold drag queen events.

"Recent tragic events highlight the continued heightened threat environment our nation faces, and these threats are driven by violent extremists who seek to further their ideological beliefs and personal grievances," Mayorkas said in a statement.

The advisory is the department's eighth since January 2021, the month when a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in a failed attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

The advisory adds that both domestic violent extremists and foreign terrorist organizations are attempting to motivate supporters to commit attacks.

"We are working with partners across every level of government, within the private sector and in local communities to keep Americans safe," Mayorkas said.

"We will continue to share information and intelligence, equip communities with training and resources and fund security enhancement and prevention efforts through millions of dollars in grant funding."

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