Army veteran accused of making threat against Albany Stratton VA

A Western New York man has been charged with threatening the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in tw

A Western New York man has been charged with threatening the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in two phone calls last month, authorities said.

Robert J. Seifert, of Canandaigua, has admitted making the calls, but told investigators they were a cry for help and that he was intoxicated when he made them, according to a complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Albany.

Seifert, who served eight months in the Army in 1979 and received an honorable medical discharge, pleaded guilty to similar accusations related to the VA hospital in Canandaigua last year, according to the federal complaint.

In the Albany case, Seifert called a veterans crisis line on June 15 and told the operator that he had an Uzi and “I wanna kill everybody at the Albany VA. And I’m not playing games with you,” according to the federal complaint.

Minutes later, a nurse in the Albany VA’s psychiatric ward received a call from someone identifying himself as Seifert. The nurse had also treated Seifert and recognized his voice, the complaint reads.

Seifert made similar statements to the nurse, who transferred the call to a VA police officer. Seifert told the officer he would “shoot and kill many people,” including the officer, the complaint reads.

The VA immediately went into lockdown, which includes setting up a perimeter, greater monitoring of entrances and escorts of people to and from the parking lot. The lockdown lasted an hour, according to the complaint.

Authorities in Amsterdam, unaware of the VA threats, soon afterward found Seifert in Riverfront Park and sent him to St. Mary’s Hospital for evaluation, the complaint says.

He told officers there he was going to the Albany VA “because the voices in his head had told him to,” according to the complaint. “He said he did not mean to harm anyone and just wanted help for the voices in his head.”

The next day, Seifert allegedly told state police his statements were a cry for help, that he was drunk at the time and made them because he “felt the VA was not helping him.”

Seifert faces charges of threatening to assault and kill U.S. officials.

The charge is the second time Seifert has been accused of making such threats. He spent nine months in jail for aggravated harassment after making threats in September 2015 to the VA hospital in Canandaigua.

Seifert told police then that he made those threats because he was drunk and felt he wasn’t being properly treated by the VA there, according to the complaint.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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