Man who fired shots into Democratic Party office gets prison term

Mayfair shooting
Melissa Mitman

A suburban Philadelphia man who fired three shots into a local Democratic Party office on Inauguration Day in 2021 has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.

Anthony Nero, 48, of Norristown, must also serve three years of supervised release once he’s freed as part of the 37-month term imposed Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Nero wept during the hearing and apologized to the Montgomery County Democratic Committee, saying, “I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I terrorized them like that.” He blamed his actions on a yearslong struggle with alcoholism, which strained his health and marriage, and a recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Nero had pleaded guilty in January to sending threatening communications and cyberstalking in connection with threats made days before the three shots were fired early Jan. 20 into the party office in Norristown.

Authorities have said the shots, which caused no injuries, were linked to Nero through a threatening email sent Jan. 7, a day after the riot at the U.S. Capitol, warning that the party should “probably beef up security” and referencing President Donald Trump and his false claim that the election had been stolen.

Nero said he was stressed over losing his family, the COVID-19 shutdown and the election, authorities have said. He originally faced county charges including terroristic threats, terrorism, reckless endangering and a firearms count, but those charges were dropped when the case was moved to federal court.