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HARLINGEN, Texas — An elderly man is in federal custody after making threats of a mass shooting and bombing at a Veteran's Administration (VA) in south Texas — citing, according to federal prosecutors, intent to kill people between the ages of 18 and 30 because they are spreading COVID-19.

73-year-old Dennis Deane Dailey of La Feria, Texas, was arrested on July 22, 2020, and faces a federal charge of willfully making a threat with explosive materials.

Two days earlier, on July 20, 2020, authorities say Dailey called the VA suicide prevention hotline with "suicidal thoughts," claimed to be angry, and planned to shoot employees at the VA hospital in Harlingen — which is located just northwest of Brownsville in far south Texas.

"Dailey also allegedly stated he planned to kill people between the ages of 18 and 30 because they are spreading COVID-19," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Texas. "The criminal complaint further alleges Dailey claimed to have 'many guns and bombs' and would blow up the VA and kill whoever needed to be killed."

Dailey made his initial appearance in federal court on July 23 where he was ordered to remain in custody pending further criminal proceedings. He has a detention hearing and a preliminary exam hearing scheduled for August 11, 2020, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan, according to federal court records obtained by

If convicted, Dailey faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000.

The FBI investigated the case which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Oscar Ponce.