Shawn Christy was ready to introduce himself to the world.
Dressed in a camouflage shirt and hat, his green eyes hidden behind a pair of aviator sunglasses, Christy stared into a camera and delivered a short message that he posted on YouTube in January. "I kind of have a lot of survival information, mixed with tactical," he said with a noticeable lisp. "Pretty much like all different environments, whether it's the desert, the mountains, or the urban environment that I'm in now."
He promised to share more videos about survivalist topics on his YouTube channel, Backwoods Bushcraft and Tactical, but didn't generate much interest; the channel attracted just 15 subscribers. But if it was attention that Christy craved, he now has more than he can handle. The 27-year-old is the focus of a massive manhunt led by the U.S. Marshals, the FBI, and the Secret Service, with agents following his trail from Canada to Pennsylvania to Kentucky.
Christy — a self-styled survivalist from McAdoo, a small town in Schuylkill County's coal country — is wanted for threatening to shoot President Trump and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. The Marshals on Saturday announced a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Christy, who allegedly stole three handguns from an uncle in Luzerne County earlier this summer.
Investigators believe Christy stole a 2001 Jeep Cherokee in Greensburg, Ky., earlier this month, after abandoning a Toyota Tundra in the area. The Jeep has a steering wheel on the passenger's side, a black front hood, and "U.S. Postal Service" and "Rural Carrier" magnets on the front and side.
His backstory is tangled, filled with arrests and threats and, in 2010, a restraining order involving former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"It's hard to explain," said Supervisory Deputy Robert Clark of the U.S. Marshals.
The reason federal authorities are now trying to track down Christy is a June 12 Facebook post he wrote: "Keep it up Morganelli, I promise I'll put a bullet in your head as soon as I put one in the head of Donald J. Trump. Remember where you came from punk."
It was not the first time Christy had mentioned the president on Facebook. According to a recent Newsweek story, Christy complained about Trump in a lengthy message in May that also referenced Palin and Morganelli. "I'm not a snowflake, but I still say Trump is a fake," he wrote. "I mean I voted for him, but here in 'Murica we got sold a lemon."
Christy shared photos of men and women he claimed were U.S. Marshals, and referenced trying to figure out where a relative of one agent lived; he also vowed to use "full lethal force on any law enforcement officer that tries to detain me."
"We don't want some unsuspecting officers pulling him over when they don't know what they're getting into," Clark said, adding that Christy has written in the past about Eric Frein, a survivalist from Canadensis who shot and killed a Pennsylvania state trooper in 2014, and led authorities on a 48-day chase.
"Maybe he feels like that's a role model for him," Clark said.
Court records show that Christy was charged with making terroristic threats in March 2017 after threatening to kill a tax clerk in Bangor, Pa., north of Allentown, and blow up the building where she worked; he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months of probation. That same spring, he was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly swinging a four-foot-long stick at Stephan Holly, McAdoo's mayor.
Clark said Christy is also wanted on a probation violation in Schuylkill County, and for failing to appear at a court date as part of the Holly case. But the local matters pale next to the federal warrant that was issued on June 19 in response to the Facebook threats.
Morganelli didn't respond to a request for comment but told Newsweek he could be on Christy's radar simply because his name might have appeared on court documents related to the Bangor tax clerk case. "I haven't been thinking about him much," he told the magazine.
In 2010, an Alaskan judge granted Palin a restraining order against Christy, who reportedly admitted to threatening to rape the former vice presidential candidate, and flooding her office with emails and messages. Christy and his father were later arrested by the FBI for harassing Palin's attorney, who worked in Allentown.
"He's unpredictable," Clark said. "He's the type of guy who does not need human contact. We hope we can get him peacefully."