WICHITA, Kan. -- A retired firefighter who was upset with Wichita's mask ordinance was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill the mayor of Kansas' largest city, authorities said.
Police said the 59-year-old suspect who was arrested Friday could face a charge of criminal threat, the Wichita Eagle reported.
Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple, a Democrat, said someone had read him text messages received by another city official that asked about the mayor's address and threatened his life.
"He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman -- me and everyone who, something about tyranny," Whipple said.
"It sounded like the person was very upset about pretty much mask mandates and he said something about not being able to see his mother because of covid restrictions on elderly homes," Whipple said.
Wichita police spokesman Charley Davidson said that no other local officials are believed to have been targeted.
The arrest comes more than a week after authorities said they thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Authorities allege members of two anti-government paramilitary groups took part in plotting in that case. Six men are charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap the Democratic governor. Eight others are charged in state court with counts including providing material support for terrorist acts.
Separately in Missouri, a St. Louis nightspot is fighting a closure order for alleged violations of mask and social distancing rules.
Reign Restaurant, whose main owner is mayoral candidate Dana Kelly, is seeking a temporary restraining order to end the city-imposed shutdown, which began Wednesday and is set to expire Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The restaurant alleged in its lawsuit that it was targeted by the city because Kelly has declared her intention to run against Mayor Lyda Krewson next year. Krewson is listed as a defendant in the suit along with the acting city health director, Dr. Fredrick Echols.
The city argued in a filing that residents and the general public "will be at great risk" if the restaurant is permitted to reopen. It cited photos and videos taken between Sept. 5 and Oct. 9 showing large groups of patrons and workers at the bar and dance floor who were not wearing masks or social distancing.