Former soldier pleads guilty to threatening mass shooting at Fort Irwin

An ex-soldier pleaded guilty to a federal charge for threatening to kill Army members stationed at Fort Irwin this week. Christian Beyer entered his guilty plea on Friday, June 28, more than half a year after he was taken into custody in Northern California. 

Beyer, 42, posted a series of videos to YouTube in October 2023, calling out specific soldiers stationed at Fort Irwin and delivering several threats to them. He repeated his intentions to enter the base and carry out a mass shooting, claiming he knew ways to access the installation. The arrest warrant against him said that Beyer knew unofficial trails and ways to get past access points on the Army base in San Bernardino County in Southern California. 

“I’m coming for you. I’m gonna kill your whole fucking family if they stay there,” Beyer said in one of the videos, where he promised to “hunt” the specific soldiers during a mass shooting. 

On Friday, after several months in federal custody, Beyer pleaded guilty to the charge of making threats by interstate communication. He is set to be sentenced in September.

“Mr. Beyer sought to take his personal vengeance out on innocent military members honorably serving their country, as well as their families,” Akil Davis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in the Department of Justice statement. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force will investigate all threats to American military personnel and pursue prosecution for the offenders.”

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In late October, after posting the videos, Beyer threatened a group of senior citizens before being chased by law enforcement. He fled and remained at large for two days until he was captured by the FBI on Nov. 1 in his hometown of Petaluma, California. 

Beyer served in the U.S. Army from 2000-2023, reaching the rank of sergeant first class. During his time in the service, he deployed to the Middle East five times, including three deployments to Iraq. Beyer himself had previously been stationed at Fort Irwin while in the U.S. Army. He was convicted on charges of assault in a court martial in 2022. 

“Our military servicemembers deserve our utmost appreciation and respect, not fear and intimidation,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in the Department of Justice statement. “Threats against our servicemembers, as against all public servants, cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Beyer’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20. He faces a maximum of five years in prison. 

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Nicholas Slayton

Contributing Editor

Nicholas Slayton is a Contributing Editor for Task & Purpose. In addition to covering breaking news, he writes about history, shipwrecks, and the military’s hunt for unidentified anomalous phenomenon (formerly known as UFOs). He currently runs the Task & Purpose West Coast Bureau from Los Angeles.