Martinez, Calif. – A jury in Contra Costa County reached a guilty verdict in seven out of eight counts in the case of a San Ramon man who threatened California State Senator Scott Wiener with gun violence.
51-year-old Erik Triana was charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office on April 25, 2022, with an eight count felony complaint. On September 14, 2022, a jury in Martinez found Triana guilty of threatening the life of Senator Wiener, two counts of possessing assault weapons (an AR-15 rifle and a privately made 9mm pistol), two counts for manufacturing or assembling unregistered firearms (known commonly as ghost guns), and two counts of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle. A not guilty verdict was reached on a criminal threat of death or great bodily injury to Senator Wiener.
Triana was under investigation and ultimately arrested after he sent Senator Wiener a threat through the Senator’s “contact me” portal on his website that read: “Vax my kids without my permission and expect a visit from me and my rifle.” The San Ramon father of three signed his message “Amendment, Second” and listed his address as the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
When Senator Wiener took the stand on September 6th, he noted that this threat was unlike others his office receives because of the reference to the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (who, along with Supervisor Harvey Milk, was shot and killed at City Hall in 1978), the specific threat to use a gun, and that Triana lived in the Bay Area.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Kang, who prosecuted the case for The People, said that Triana sent the message on January 22, 2022, days after Wiener introduced SB 866 in the California State Legislature. SB 866 has since been withdrawn for a vote on the Assembly floor, but the bill proposed to allow minors 15 years or older to seek medical care or treatment (including vaccines) without parental consent. Witness interviews by police note that Triana strongly opposed COVID-19 vaccinations.
Police investigators were able to trace the message Triana sent to Senator Wiener back to a computer Triana used at his place of employment in Pleasanton. In March, police obtained a warrant to search Triana’s home and car — where they found an unregistered AR-15 assault weapon with nine loaded magazines and an unserialized privately made 9-mm pistol. Another unserialized pistol was in a backpack in his home, along with two loaded 9mm magazines and two loaded AR-15 style magazines.
Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Kang said, “While free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy and a Constitutionally protected right, there is a clear line between political discourse and threats of violence. The jury’s verdict in this case highlights the fact that threats to seriously harm or kill a public servant because of disagreement with their policies is not protected speech and will not be tolerated.”
Triana is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Terri Mockler in Martinez on September 29, 2022, at 8:30 am.
Case number: 01-22-00274 | The People of the State of California vs. Triana, Erik