Man who threatened Steelers game mass shooting sentenced to 18 months
A Texas man who threatened a massacre at a Steelers game in January at Heinz Field will spend 18 months in prison, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Yuttana Choochongkol, 40, who also goes by Jason Manotham, must also undergo a mental health evaluation and receive mental health and drug and alcohol treatment. Once released, he faces three years of probation.
The threats came days before a playoff game between the Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Choochongkol was indicted on three counts of transmitting a threat.
Shortly before 9 p.m. Jan. 10, KDKA-TV received a message from the address “[email protected]” through its “contact us” portal on its website threatening a mass shooting at the game.
“This Sunday’s playoff game in Pittsburgh is going to be like no other. Why? Because it’s going to be my last day on this pathetic planet. So why not take some innocent lives with me? The Steelers game will be packed, and that’s when I plan on killing Steelers football players and fans before taking my own pitiful life. After all, what does a person that is going to commit suicide have to lose? Absolutely nothing. So why not take out some million dollar Steelers players before me? Sounds like a good idea. Hahahahahah.”
“Be prepared for a massacre at the Steelers vs Panthers playoff game this Sunday. Its going to be my last day to live and why not take as many people with me as I can. Or why not take a Professional football player with me too? I’m going to try and kill as many Steelers football players and fans as possible before taking my own worthless life. So see y’all in Hell. Hahahahaha.”
The third threat boasted of having an “inside connection” at Heinz Field and threatened to pack “an Uzi with many clips under my winter gear.” He said he planned to target “the whole Steelers sideline.”
Investigators tracked the IP address of each message to World Wide Clinical Trials in San Antonio, according to the indictment. Choochongkol was at the company as a “test subject” for an extended release psychotropic medication called viloxazine.
Choochongkol pleaded guilty to one of three counts against him in October.
Choochongkol’s federal public defenders argued for leniency in pre-sentencing documents, citing the side effects of the medication: headaches, agitation, tension, exacerbation of anxiety, confusion, restlessness, irritability, hypomania and mania, according to court documents.
“It is virtually impossible to say with certainty what effect the trial drug viloxazine had on (Choochongkol) at the time of his offense,” his attorneys argued in the report. “We do know with certainty, however, that (he) had never engaged in conduct similar to his instant offense.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.