A pair of telephoned threats against the San Diego Pride Parade led investigators to a man who is now suspected of committing three bank robberies, federal prosecutors announced this week.
The U.S. attorney’s office for California’s southern district has charged Andre Lafayette Holmes, 31, with bank robbery, armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm in commission of a crime of violence. Authorities are considering further charges for the threats, according to federal prosecutors.
The case was jointly investigated by San Diego police and the FBI, and prosecutors laid out the sequence of events leading to the charges in Wednesday’s release.
A lawyer said to be representing Holmes could not immediately be reached for comment.
On July 10, Holmes called Pride event organizers twice to issue threats, using a slur against gay people, telling them “I think I’m going to have to kill all the gays and the children,” and “I don’t like them,” prosecutors said. Holmes hung up and then called back and continued his threats, cursing at President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and allegedly saying, “I’m going to shoot up the Pride event.”
San Diego police traced the alleged call to Holmes and identified a vehicle registered to him. He was pulled over at a traffic stop, and authorities determined the phone in his possession was allegedly used to make the threatening calls.
But the investigation wasn’t over.
When police searched Holmes’s home and his vehicle, they found a gray semiautomatic pistol, a rubber mask with an old man’s face, a large bag of cash and clothing believed to have been worn by a robbery suspect, all of which authorities say were consistent with evidence of bank robberies. They also found a Big Gulp cup that had allegedly been used in two robberies.
Holmes is now accused of being involved in three robberies: at a U.S. Bank in Spring Valley, California, on Nov. 4, 2016; at Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego on June 14, 2018; and California Bank and Trust in San Diego on June 28, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
During the first robbery, prosecutors allege, Holmes left a note with tellers that read, “We have guns! I will personally shoot anyone you alert! Don’t make me jump over the counter and kill innocent people. Big bills only and I’ll calmly leave. Money now!!!!”
On the reverse side, it added, “I’m sorry, good man on hard times. Sincerely, Bank Robber.”
Reached by NBC San Diego, his grandmother, Geneva Roberts, told the network that the phone calls struck her as out of character. “I know he likes Donald Trump,” she said.
Holmes’s mother, Mina Laroashun, seemed shocked by the charges against her son. When asked by NBC San Diego if he had prejudices against gay people, she responded, “No, no, no! That was some response not to be taken seriously, and I don’t know if that’s him.”