Crime

Civil Air commander resigns amid probe into ‘swing from a tree’ threat to Joco lawmaker

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican, reported a threatening social media message last month. A Kansas Civil Air Patrol commander who sent the message has resigned his position.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican, reported a threatening social media message last month. A Kansas Civil Air Patrol commander who sent the message has resigned his position.

A Civil Air Patrol squadron commander in Kansas has resigned his position amid a police investigation of a threatening message he sent to a Johnson County lawmaker on social media.

The former commander, Jonathan Holder, was identified earlier this week as the person who posted a Facebook comment saying Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican, should “swing from a tree” because of her opposition to concealed handguns on college campuses.

Holder was the leader of a squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, in Emporia. Late on Tuesday, the Civil Air Patrol announced that Holder had resigned his command position and that his membership in the group has been suspended.

“CAP does not condone such behavior from its members, especially one in a leadership position,” the Civil Air Patrol said in a written statement from its national headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. The statement said Holder’s membership was suspended “pending further investigation, as is standard procedure in such situations.”

The Civil Air Patrol is a federally funded civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, chartered by Congress as a volunteer group tasked with disaster relief, search and rescue, and other emergency services.

Overland Park police have said an investigation into the threatening message is ongoing. Holder did not immediately respond to messages from The Star.

Holder wrote the comment under a Facebook post Clayton shared last month about a bill she introduced that would permanently exempt Kansas colleges from having to allow concealed handguns on campus.

Holder responded: “This B---- needs to swing from a tree for violating her oath.”

Clayton alerted Capitol Police and the Overland Park Police Department. She did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday morning.

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