LONG ISLAND (PIX11) — A prominent Long Island Pride organizer says he was the target of one man’s anti-gay vitriol for more than a decade until the suspect was finally apprehended last year.
David Kilmnick, president of the LGBT Network, said he was consistently harassed for 13 years with crude, life-threatening letters by a suspect who lived just 15 minutes from his house.
“It has had a huge impact,” Kilmnick said. “It made me think twice about simple tasks like getting the mail and putting out the garbage.”
The FBI arrested Long Island resident Robert Fehring, 74, last year for allegedly sending hate-filled letters to members connected to the LGBTQ+ community, including a threat to shoot up the 2021 New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,” according to a criminal complaint
In one letter, Fehring allegedly threatened Kilmnick and his boyfriend, authorities said.
“[W]e were right there you…FREAK!!! They couldn’t get a shot off at you, slithering around the backstage area like a snake. Too many cops. Very disappointed. But your time has come. . .. They are out to KILL you….and your boyfriend. You are being watched. No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out…. high-powered bullet….bomb….knife…. whatever it takes,” the letter read, according to the criminal complaint.
Kilmnick said the harassment started after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and escalated after last year’s Long Island Pride event. The suspect told Kilmnick that “if you think the Boston Marathon is bad… wait until Long Island Pride,” the LGBT Network president said.
Fehring allegedly sent Kilmnick a threatening letter with pictures from the 2021 June Pride event.
“Had no idea who he was but found it quite scary,” Kilmnick said. “He was living 15 minutes from my house.”
After years of reporting the harassment to local authorities, the FBI stepped in after last year’s June Pride.
A search warrant of Fehring’s Bayport home in November turned up photos from the event, as well as two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird, according to the complaint.
Fehring has pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications through the postal service, according to federal prosecutors. Kilmnick said he will speak at Fehring’s sentencing on June 17.
“I was his No. 1 target for 13 years,” Kilmnick said.
This year’s Long Island Pride will be held on Sunday in Farmingdale. PIX11 News is a co-sponsor of the event.