Man charged with making bomb threat to Michigan Capitol, threatening life of Detroit state rep

Michael Varrone
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 14:38:16-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan State Police say a man has been arrested after calling in a bomb threat at the Michigan Capitol building on Thursday. Police say the man also made a threat to State Rep. Cynthia Johnson of Detroit.

Michael Varrone, 48, was arrested outside his home on Thursday and is currently lodged in the Lansing City Jail.

He was charged with two counts of false report or threat of terrorism and one count of false report of bomb/harmful device.

Police say one of the charges related to a call he made in December where he threatened Johnson's life.

“Threats to our democracy must not be tolerated, and my office will work tirelessly to ensure the people who work and visit our Capitol can do so safely,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “I am grateful this incident did not result in any serious injury or harm. However, I hope this incident and the disgraceful tragedy that occurred Wednesday at our nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C., can serve as reminders of the security measures we must work to maintain and improve to protect the sanctity of our democracy and the safety of our people.”

Varrone called the Michigan House of Representatives six times on Dec. 12, police say, and threatened Johnson's life and her family members at least one time.

Then, on Thursday morning, he allegedly called a control operator at the Capitol complex and said everyone needed to evacuate because the building was going to explose.

MSP performed a sweep of the building by 9 a.m. and confirmed there was no real threat.

Varrone is scheduled to be in court on Jan. 22 for a probable cause conference.