A Dobbs Ferry man who repeatedly rammed his car into an MTA vehicle, threatened police officers, and kept a “kill list” naming various public officials was taken into federal custody on Thursday.
Nicholas Skulstad, 33, was charged in White Plains Federal Court with destruction of a motor vehicle employed in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss. The alleged assault happened in Ossining.
“As alleged, Nicholas Skulstad used his vehicle as a weapon, repeatedly ramming it into an occupied MTA vehicle, then shattering the driver’s window,” Strauss said. “When police officers responded, Skulstad allegedly charged at and threatened them, and had in his car a notebook page titled “List – To Kill,” with names of public figures.”
On Apr. 5, Skulstad crashed his black Jeep repeatedly into an MTA vehicle driven by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee in Ossining, damaging the car and forcing it off the road, according to the complaint. Skulstad subsequently exited his vehicle, approached the MTA car on foot, and banged on the drivers-side window until he shattered it.
When Ossining police officers arrived at the scene, Skulstad yelled at an officer, “I’m Jesus Christ! You are going to die today! Are you ready to die?”
Skulstad then charged at the police vehicle, throwing his body into the drivers-side door while screaming threats at an officer sitting inside, officials said. Skulstad resisted officers’ attempts to subdue him before ultimately being taken into custody.
Police then searched Skulstad’s vehicle and found, among other things, a shell casing and a notebook with a page entitled “List – To Kill,” which listed the names of various current and former public officials and other public figures, according to the complaint.
The names listed in the book were not made public.
“Skulstad’s alleged targeting of an MTA vehicle, and the subsequent actions he took against police officers who arrive on scene, remind us of the threat our public servants face each and every day as they uphold their duty to protect the communities they serve,” said FBI Assistant Direction William F. Sweeney Jr. “Skulstad no longer poses a threat to society or, more specifically, those he included as targets on his list.”
The joint investigation comprised of federal and local agencies, including the FBI’s New York-based Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Ossining Police Department, the Irvington Police Department, the Dobbs Ferry Police Department and the Croton-on-Hudson Police Department.
Additionally, the FBI’s Newark-based JTTF, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Real Time Crime Center, and the New York State Intelligence Center also assisted in the investigation.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Sam Adelsberg and Elinor L. Tarlow will oversee the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Elisabeth Poteat of the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
“Attacks against public servants, as alleged in this federal complaint, endanger not only those who work to maintain public safety, but all of society,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “I commend our investigators in the NYPD and our partners in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York for working closely to ensure this individual would be brought to justice.”