Police and FBI agents were reportedly warned about threats being made by Yuri Silva, 27, against law enforcement through social media, according to authorities. Silva was arrested on the way to the protest, and four weapons, including an AK-47 and an Uzi, were recovered from inside the vehicle, police added.
“With the severity of the threats, accompanied by the firearms located, we have every reason to believe that these arrests potentially saved lives,” according to a release from West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku on Tuesday.
Silva had threatened the use of firearms, and had encouraged others to take up arms against law enforcement, authorities said. He had also listed the names of and addresses of officers to be targeted, police allege.
Investigators said they located Silva and took him into custody during a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, Christian Hernandez, 27, was also detained, according to police.
“Mr. Silva reported that he was on the way to the protests in Salt Lake City when he was stopped,” Vainuku added.
Police said additional electronic evidence was also recovered from the residence of Hernandez.
“The suspect [Silva] denied wanting to shoot police officers but admitted his Facebook posts were intended to incite people,” a police affidavit stated, according to the Deseret News.
Silva was arrested for investigation of making a terroristic threat, while Hernandez was arrested for investigation of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and drug possession, the paper reported.