Retired firefighter arrested for threatening to kidnap, kill Wichita mayor over city’s mask ordinance

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a retired firefighter who was upset with Wichita’s mask ordinance was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the city’s mayor.

The Wichita Eagle reports that police say the 59-year-old suspect could face a charge of criminal threat. Police identified the suspect as Meredith Dowty, a resident of the city.

Mayor Brandon Whipple said he had been read text messages received by another city official that asked about the mayor’s address and threatened his life. The mayor says the suspect talked about tyranny in the messages and was upset about the mask mandates and not being able to see his mother because of COVID-19 restrictions on elderly homes.

Mayor Whipple provided this statement:

“Violence is never a way to settle disagreements. We’re always stronger together as a City even when times are at there toughest. Tensions maybe high, but we will get through this together as Wichitans. Chelsea, the boys and I appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers. We also would like to thank the brave men & women of the WPD who protect not just us but our whole community. Thank you for the fast response.”

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