July 2023 TorchStone Global Monthly Executive Protection Report
TorchStone Global believes that broader situational awareness and intelligence are key to providing quality executive protection—whether the principal is a Fortune 500 CEO, international movie star, or local city council member. With that in mind, we are launching our monthly executive protection report, cataloging incidents we have captured through our open-source searches that are relevant to the practice of executive protection. We hope the report will serve as a centralized source of threat activity to provide insight into current trends in threats to high-profile individuals.
For more information on customized threat tracking for at-risk individuals, threat assessments, executive protection, or other security services, please contact us.
The TorchStone Executive Protection Report tracked 25 domestic and 20 international security incidents or updates to prior incidents impacting high-profile individuals. Notable trends over the past month include: increased climate change protest activity targeting private aircraft, marine vessels, and events across Europe; increased threats against the District Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia pending an indictment against former president Donald Trump; and finally, fans continued to throw dangerous objects at performers during concerts.
In Europe, environmentalist activists associated with campaigns such as Just Stop Oil, Futuro Vegetal, and Letzte Generation targeted property and events in the UK, Spain, and Germany respectively. While the activists are primarily focused on gaining attention by disrupting events, they have also targeted private planes, yachts, and the wedding of a former British politician. These activists are likely to continue their protest campaigns into August. While they have so far been more active in Europe, these campaigns are global and target individuals and property in North America, as well.
Authorities in Atlanta have increased security around the courthouse in Fulton County, Georgia in response to increased threats against District Attorney Fani Willis. Her office is expected to announce whether it will indict former president Donald Trump in connection to his efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results. Ms. Willis recently shared examples of racist threats her office has received and encouraged staffers to be cautious over the coming months. A decision from her office could come in August or September.
Concertgoers continued to pose a threat to musical performers in July: in Las Vegas, a fan threw a drink at Cardi B while she was performing on stage; in Salt Lake City, a fan rushed the stage during a Bryan Adams concert; and in Vienna, Austria, Harry Styles’ concert was interrupted when an attendee threw an unidentified object that hit the singer in the eye.
DOMESTIC U.S. INCIDENTS
July 8, 2023: Former WWE wrestler Ryback has been repeatedly targeted by an online stalker who had been joining the former wrestler’s YouTube live streams and issuing threats towards Ryback, his family, and other former wrestlers. In one of the threatening comments, the stalker stated, “As long as I take you with me, and your f*cking mom, that’s all I care about. Then I’ll be praised by Vince McMahon.” Ryback claimed to have identified the individual on his Twitter account after law enforcement was unable to identify the individual. Police have not arrested the alleged stalker Ryback identified.
July 11, 2023: The Tempe city courthouse was evacuated due to a potentially hazardous white powdery substance originally discovered by courthouse staff. The substance was sent for testing, and it was found to be non-hazardous. Law enforcement concluded a sweep of the building and found no hazardous materials. One person was hospitalized after being initially exposed to the powder.
July 11, 2023: Police arrested a Star City resident for threatening Judge Robert Wyatt of the 11th Judicial District West-Second Division Circuit. The individual made the threat on Facebook though the specifics of the threat were not made public. The suspect is facing a Class B felony punishable by imprisonment for between 5 to 20 years.
July 3, 2023: Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon filed a stalking report with the Los Angeles County police against an unnamed woman claiming to be the rockstar’s daughter. The woman began the harassment in June by dropping letters in Mr. Lydon’s mailbox. The harassment quickly escalated to numerous unwanted phone calls and eventually led to her trespassing on Mr. Lydon’s property in Southern California. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the reports.
July 3, 2023: Actor Damson Idris’ home was burglarized for roughly $500 worth of items and cash. Thieves broke into Mr. Idris’s Los Angeles home by smashing a glass door and stealing a small safe. Los Angeles police are investigating the break-in but have made no arrests and have not publicly identified any suspects.
July 5, 2023: Beyonce and Solange’s mother Tina Knowles Lawson’s home was robbed of more than $1 million of jewelry and cash. Police are still investigating the break-in and have not publicly identified any suspects. Lawson was out of town when the burglary occurred.
July 24, 2023: Burglars attempted to rob rapper Wiz Khalifa’s home in Los Angeles but were stopped by his security team. Los Angeles police responded to the burglary, but the suspects had fled the scene by the time they arrived. The police have filed an attempted burglary report and the investigation is ongoing. Khalifa was not home at the time of the attempted robbery.
July 30, 2023: LAPD responded to a 911 call indicating someone was shot at artist Nicki Minaj’s residence in Hidden Hills. Law enforcement determined the incident to be baseless and identified it as another swatting attempt. Ms. Minaj had previously been swatted last month when police responded to false allegations of child abuse at her residence. According to the FBI, swatting entails making a deceptive 9-1-1 call with a fabricated emergency that prompts a response from law enforcement, often involving a SWAT team. This reckless act puts the community at risk since responders are diverted from genuine emergencies. Additionally, it endangers the officers involved and the victims, as unsuspecting residents may attempt to defend themselves in response to the perceived threat.
July 24, 2023: Police in South Fulton are investigating racist voicemails and emails targeting Mayor Khalid Kamau. A police officer involved in the investigation told media that one of the messages referenced “KKK style”, which the officer interpreted as a lynching threat. The mayor received the messages within two weeks of his arrest for trespassing on a home in South Fulton that he claims he thought was vacant at the time. Mayor Kamau is also one of the first Black Lives Matter organizers to win public office.
July 28, 2023: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis revealed that her office has been receiving numerous threats amid speculation that she is preparing to indict former president Donald Trump for interfering in the 2020 presidential election. Ms. Willis shared an example of one of the threats, which read: “Fani Willis-Corrupt [N-word]…You are going to fail, you Jim Crow Democrat w***e.” Ms. Willis told staffers that there were many more similar communications and encouraged them to all “stay alert” over the coming month as her office decides whether or not to indict Mr. Trump. Authorities have erected security barriers around the Fulton County courthouse in preparation for what Ms. Willis has promised to be a “historical decision” coming in August or September.
July 26, 2023: A federal judge sentenced a man to 13 months in prison after he was found guilty of threatening a Michigan judge and making explicitly gruesome threats against the judge’s wife on social media. The convicted man has already served the prison sentence as he has been in custody since June 2022. He faced a sentence of up to five years for his crimes but will be receiving court-ordered in-patient psychological treatment instead.
July 26, 2023: Montana state Republican lawmakers reported receiving a fourth suspicious letter containing white powder that investigators later determined to be non-hazardous. Representative Sue Vinton (R-Billings) turned the letter she received over to the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s office who deemed it safe. House Speaker Matt Reiger (R-Kalispel), Rep. Neil Duram (R-Eureka), and Rep. Rhonda Knudsen (R-Culbertson) have all received similar letters in the preceding days and weeks. Law enforcement has instructed all Montana legislators to not open any suspicious mail and immediately report it to local authorities.
• Sept 26, 2022: A Ridgeland woman sent two profane emails to Judge Roy Percy. The first email asked Percy to meet her in public “where I can just end you and the problems you (expletive) cause!” In the second email, she accused the judge of abusing his power and threatened to charge him with treason.
July 5, 2023: Pop star Britney Spears alleges that she was slapped by a member of basketball player Victor Wembanyama’s security team while attempting to approach the player at a Las Vegas restaurant. Mrs. Spears filed a report with the Las Vegas Police Department who will not be pursuing charges against the security team. Police state that the CCTV footage shows that Spears accidentally hit herself in the face after her hand was pushed off Mr. Wembanyama while approaching him from behind.
July 29, 2023: An unknown individual hurled a drink at singer Cardi B during a concert at Drai’s Beach Club in Las Vegas. Social media videos show a liquid being thrown at Cardi B during her performance, leading to a temporary pause in the show. In response, Cardi B retaliated by throwing her microphone at the disruptive fan. Over the past few weeks, numerous artists have experienced a wide variety of objects being thrown at them during their performances, including phones, bracelets, and other items.
July 6, 2023: Prosecutors have indicted an Albuquerque man for threatening to murder a judge in Greene County, Missouri. The suspect will be transferred to Missouri where he will stand trial for the allegations. The identity of the judge and the details of the threat have not been released. The accused man had previously spent time in a mental health facility for federal prisoners in Springfield, New Mexico. He also was previously charged for making threats in 2013 but was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
July 29, 2023: Police in Albuquerque are investigating a threatening phone call to the Republican Party’s New Mexico Headquarters. The caller reportedly told staffers there, “I’m going to bomb your office so you all go to hell with Trump!” No arrests have been made so far.
July 14, 2023: A judge sentenced a man to seven years in prison for mailing threatening letters to a Binghamton federal judge, two U.S. Representatives, and a U.S. Senator. The threatening mail targeted Senior U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy, U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi, and Sen. Charles Schumer. Nelson pleaded guilty to three counts of mailing threatening letters in March.
• 2018: Federal officials received threatening letters from a New York prison where the convicted man was already serving time for felony charges of threat by mail.
July 27, 2023: Authorities issued arrest warrants for two men wanted in connection to a well-planned home invasion that resulted in the forced transfer of over $150,000 worth of Bitcoin from a Durham couple. Prosecutors accuse the men of traveling from Florida and conducting surveillance on the couple’s home for at least three days before carrying out the attack.
• April 12, 2023: Two men disguised as construction workers forced their way inside the couple’s home and forced them at gunpoint to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars of cryptocurrency to their associates. The perpetrators appear to have prepared for the attack by posing as construction workers, claiming that they needed to inspect pipes around the couple’s home.
July 3, 2023: Police arrested a woman from Bristol, CT for trespassing at Taylor Swift’s Westerly, Rhode Island property. The suspect reportedly refused to leave after Swift’s private security team warned her that she was trespassing. According to Westerly police, the woman had previously been warned not to be on the property. It is unclear if Ms. Swift was on the property at the time. On July 14, the accused pleaded no contest to trespassing on Taylor Swift’s property and was issued a no-trespassing order.
July 3, 2023: An unidentified concertgoer rushed the stage and took the microphone during musician Bryan Adam’s performance at the Maverick Center in Salt Lake City. The man was quickly removed from the stage by security and no one was injured during the incident. Adams joins a growing list of artists who have been interrupted by fans during live performances including Bebe Rexha, Ava Max, and Harry Styles.
July 9, 2023: A King County judge sentenced a man to 364 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to stalking U.S. Rep. Pamila Jayapal. According to law enforcement, the man yelled expletives and “Go back to India” in front of the congresswoman’s house while armed with a handgun. When interviewed by the FBI the suspect stated that he had targeted Mrs. Jayapal because of her political affiliation with the Democratic party.
July 2, 2023: The White House was briefly evacuated after the Secret Service found a suspicious white powder while conducting a routine search. Tests conducted by emergency services showed the powder was cocaine. The cocaine was found in a common area of the West Wing of the White House and was sent for further testing. President Biden and his family had left for Camp David on June 30 and were not present when the cocaine was discovered.
July 5, 2023: Prosecutors charged a Seattle man for carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device. According to prosecutors, the man was looking for “entrance points” along the street and near former President Obama’s Washington, D.C. residence. He made several concerning statements on social media before his arrest including, “We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ordered that the suspect be detained while he awaits trial due to him being a threat to the public.
• June 29, 2023: Police arrested the Seattle resident in former President Barack Obama’s D.C. neighborhood after claiming on social media that he had a detonator for an explosive. The suspect had an open warrant for his involvement in the January 6th U.S. Capitol attack and has been charged with being a fugitive from justice. Police recovered firearms and materials to make explosives from the suspect’s vehicle. While no motive has been confirmed by law enforcement, social media accounts associated with the suspect recently posted a link to a website touting conspiracy theories about the Obama family.
July 25, 2023: Climate protesters interrupted a speech given by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at the Wilson Center. The protest group entered the venue and chanted “Clean air, not another billionaire,” and “End fossil fuels, Gina,” during the secretary’s speech. The group continued the chants for roughly three minutes before Mrs. Raimondo was escorted off the stage. Security broke up the protest shortly after and the group was arrested by law enforcement.
July 26, 2023: Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger revealed plans to open new field offices in Milwaukee, Boston, and Texas to handle the current environment of increased threats against federal lawmakers. According to Chief Manger’s testimony, the Capitol Police Department is on track to receive approximately 8,000 to 9,000 threat cases in 2023, which is consistent with the average number of threats received each year since 2019. Chief Manger argued that the increased threat environment has strained the department’s protective responsibilities, requiring additional protection details and increased coverage of Congressional Delegations. He told Congress that the additional field offices would help the department assist in operations across the country.
July 27, 2023: The body of Fernando Pérez Algaba, a 41-year-old millionaire Crypto Currency influencer was found dismembered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An autopsy revealed that Algaba was shot three times before being dismembered. The police have one unidentified person in custody who is suspected of being involved in Algaba’s death. Additionally, police believe the murder may be related to Algaba’s financial debts. Despite the influencer projecting a rag-to-riches persona, Algaba lost a fortune on cryptocurrency and amassed what is described as an “irrecoverable” debt. Furthermore, it was reported that Algaba ran into a conflict with the Barra Bravas, a violent Argentinean gang, over a $40,000 loan.
July 8, 2023: Pop star Harry Styles was hit in the eye with an object thrown by a fan at while performing at a concert in Vienna. Styles continued performing following a brief pause to collect himself after being struck. There is no information on who threw the object and no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
July 23, 2023: Agustín Intriago the mayor of Manta died in a shooting that killed one other person and injure four more. Police have two suspects in custody but have not released their names. There is no clear motive for the shooting. The shooting comes on the heels of a mass prison riot in Guayaquil that left 18 dead and 11 injured and prompted Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso to declare a state of emergency and deploy 2,700 soldiers and police to regain control of the prison.
July 2, 2023: Rioters attacked the home of L’Hay-les-Roses Mayor Vincent Jeanburn, by ramming a vehicle through the front gate of the home, setting it on fire, and shooting fireworks at the mayor’s family as they attempted to flee. The attack injured the mayor’s wife and child. The mayor was at the local town hall at the time of the attack which has been met with widespread condemnation from French government officials. Local investigators have opened an attempted murder investigation, but no suspects have been made public.
July 20, 2023: Italian soccer player Gianluigi Donnarumma and his partner were attacked and robbed in Paris. The couple was reportedly attacked, tied up, and stripped while the assailants stole money and personal items worth up to $550,000. Neither Mr. Donnarumma nor his partner were seriously injured, but both were transported to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. The Paris prosecutor’s office launched a formal investigation into the incident.
July 14, 2023: Members of the Last Generation climate group interrupted a performance of the opera Magic Flute at the Regensburg Castle Festival. One of the group’s members glued themselves to the stage and addressed the audience stating, “The climate catastrophe needs the big stage, because it is the greatest threat to us humans, to our society, to our democracy.” Three other protesters were stopped by security before they could reach the stage.
July 3, 2023: The Interior minister of Tamaulipas Hector Villegas was unharmed after being shot at while traveling on the Reynosa-San Fernando highway in northern Mexico. Government officials have deployed 100 army soldiers to Tamaulipas to reinforce security operations. This is the latest example of Mexican government officials being targeted in violent attacks; Mexican consulting firm Etellekt Consultores said at least 88 Mexican politicians or candidates for office were killed between September 2020 and the June 2021 legislative elections.
July 26, 2023: President Mohamed Bazoum has been removed from power following a military coup. Colonel Amadou Abdramane addressed the country via state television stating that he and security forces had decided to “Put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.” The Colonel declared a nationwide curfew, border closure, and a suspension of all institutions of the republic. The military takeover is the seventh such coup to take place in West and Central Africa since 2020.
July 3, 2023: Russia’s FSB stated that they stopped a Ukrainian-backed attempt to assassinate the head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov. The FSB has accused a Russian national recruited by Ukraine’s SBU intelligence agency who attempted to blow up Aksyonov’s car. Footage broadcast on Russian state television showed the FSB detaining the alleged assailant who confessed to being a Ukrainian agent. Independent media has been unable to verify the accuracy of the broadcast and the FSB has not released the individual’s identity.
July 1, 2023: Former Russian submarine captain Stanislav Rzhitsky was shot and killed while jogging in Krasnodar. Russian investigators have arrested Ukrainian-born Serhiy Denysenko in connection with the killing. Denysenko has no official connection with the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian military intelligence stated that due to heavy rain that day “there are no witnesses who could provide details or identify the attacker.” Several Russian media outlets have speculated that Rzhitsky could have been tracked via his profile on the Strava fitness app. Rzhitsky’s address and personal details had been uploaded to the Ukrainian website Myrotvorets (Peacemaker), which is an unofficial database of people considered to be enemies of Ukraine.
July 16, 2023: Activists from the climate action group Futuro Vegetal (Vegetable Future) vandalized a superyacht docked in Ibiza with red and black paint. The yacht is owned by Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie. Members of the group held a poster in front of the yacht that read, “You consume others suffer,” and “The richest 1% pollutes more than the poorest 50%.” Law enforcement detained two members of the group.
July 18, 2023: Members of Futuro Vegetal (Vegetable Future) staged a protest at the Ibiza airport by vandalizing a private jet with black and yellow paint and attaching themselves to it. Operations at the airport were disrupted for several hours and the protesters were detained. The activists sought to highlight their claims that wealthy individuals have a disproportionate impact on the climate.
July 1, 2023: A fan threw a sex toy at rapper Lil Nas X while he was performing in Glastonbury. The artist was not hit by the object. An unnamed man was removed from the venue and arrested following the incident stating he threw the sex toy because he thought, “it would be funny.”
July 6, 2023: A man was arrested after handcuffing himself to the gate outside of Buckingham Palace. Police spent several hours de-escalating the individual before taking him into custody. The man was reportedly making threats of self-harm and had “a number of self-inflicted slash injuries” according to police.
July 8, 2023: A Just Stop Oil protester briefly interrupted the wedding of Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. The protester threw orange confetti over Osbourne and his bride as they left the chapel then quickly fled as she was approached by security. Just Stop Oil took credit for the stunt on social media tweeting footage of the incident with the caption “You look good in orange @George_Osborne — congratulations to the newlyweds.”
July 14, 2023: Just Stop Oil protesters briefly interrupted the first night of the Proms concert by rushing the stage and unfurling a banner bearing the group’s name. The Proms is an annual concert held by BBC News and was targeted because of the BBC’s “underwhelming coverage of the climate emergency” according to social media posts made by the climate action group. Security removed the two protesters in a matter of seconds and there was no disruption to the concert.
July 14, 2023: Just Stop Oil protestors interrupted a live broadcast of The Last Leg while handing out orange vests bearing the group’s name to the show’s hosts. The protesters were quickly escorted off the set by crew members without incident. The protest happened several hours after a pair of Just Stop Oil members were arrested for interrupting the Proms concert.
July 25, 2023: Northern Ireland District Judge Mark Hamill denounced efforts to intimidate him and his court in an overnight incident that involved spray painting his name with a crosshair next to it. Unknown persons also vandalized the courthouse, smashing exterior windows. The incident came amidst a tense trial involving 20 defendants accused of organized criminal behavior linked to the militant republican movement in Northern Ireland. Dissident Northern Irish Republican groups have frequently targeted law enforcement and the judicial system with lethal attacks, including bombings.
July 26, 2023: Members of the climate group This is Rigged defaced a portrait of King Charles III in the National Gallery of Scotland. The activists spray painted their group’s logo and the words “the people are mightier than a lord” on the portrait. The gallery closed access to the area where the portrait hung and both activists were arrested.
July 26, 2023: A UK court sentenced a U.S. citizen to six months in jail for stalking TikTok creator Anna Lapwood. The man began following Ms. Lapwood in March 2023 while she was touring the U.S., showing up at her various “meet and greet” events following performances. He began sending letters to Ms. Lapwood declaring his love for her and eventually flew to the United Kingdom, where he continued stalking Ms. Lapwood after her U.S. tour. The stalker was repeatedly seen busking outside of Ms. Lapwood’s work and when asked to leave he stated that “he had a spiritual connection with her.” Ms. Lapwood is the Director of Music at Pembroke College who rose to social media prominence for her classical performances on the organ.