Ingram Discloses Death Threats, Faces Accusations

Murrieta City Council candidate Jonathan Ingram was forced to defend himself Monday night against charges by two opponents that his campaign...

Murrieta City Council candidate Jonathan Ingram was forced to defend himself Monday night against charges by two opponents that his campaign Facebook page includes inaccurate and misleading material.

Ingram (left) said he has been the target of a much more serious nature, however. He attended Monday's Candidates Forum with police protection and said after the meeting he has been the target of death threats.

"Until the detectives get back to me, it's an open investigation," Ingram said after the Candidates Forum at Thompson Middle School -- the second such event sponsored by the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce in the last week. "It's been going on for about three weeks.

"I hired a detective to investigate someone who's been harassing my daughter. My Facebook page started getting sabotaged, then they went after my website. Without mentioning any names until things can be substantiated, I said enough is enough. Last night I came home and my wife was upset, I've got messages that are left on my phone ... we turned it over to the police department."

Some of the comments targeting Ingram on social media sites have questioned his background, criticizing his lack of a college degree and demanding more details about his work experience. Then opponent Matthew Alvernaz (right) surprised the crowd during his opening comments Monday night by demanding an explanation on key issues from Ingram.

"I have questions about your background," he said, looking down the row at Ingram, who was sitting three seats away on stage. "I've been unable to find anything online about you. Other people have asked these questions about you and those comments have been deleted online."

Alvernaz also took exception to what he said was an inaccurate statement on Ingram's Facebook page. A posting on that page on Sunday was an image of a certificate of recognition from Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, citing Ingram's work with the Veterans Memorial Committee. With the post, Ingram wrote "I am honored to receive this certificate of recognition from Melissa Melendez for my service with the Veterans Memorial Committee."

Alvernaz said according to his research, Alvernaz had attended only two meetings of that committee, which was tasked with overseeing design and maintenance of the memorial to veterans in Town Square Park.

"You posted that certificate, but you've only been to two meetings," Alvernaz said. "As a veteran, that's offensive to me."

Incumbent City Council member Rick Gibbs, who is running for re-election, later asked that Ingram remove the reference to that certificate from his Facebook page.

"Your attendance at one meeting of the Veterans Committee is misrepresented there," said Gibbs (left). "You never were a member of the Veterans Committee. That should be removed from your Facebook page."

That posting was removed from Ingram's page by late Monday evening.

Asked about the situation after the forum, Ingram said he had attended some meetings of the committee, although not as an official member of the committee. He said he didn't solicit the recognition from Melendez and that Melendez's office had assumed he was a member of the committee.

"I worked for the Veterans Committee," he said. "Look at the organizations I've been involved with. Check my website. I want to help the veterans in our community. This is a personal attack on a person they're obviously concerned about, for some reason."

Ingram acknowledged he had removed some comments on his Facebook page because they were profane, offensive and untrue.

"One person had put up there that I hate veterans," he said. "I've worked very hard for veterans. Without them, our country wouldn't be where we're at.

"Some of the comments which were deleted were foul; they were inappopriate. We know where they're coming from. It's the same four or five people. Everything's being monitored now."

Referring to the other matter, Ingram said he would have no further comment about the death threats during the police investigation.

Ingram's disclosure of the death threats during his opening comments and the allegations made by Alvernaz and Gibbs provided the only controversy during the evening. Seven of the nine candidates attended and took turns answering a variety of questions.

Murrieta 24/7 will have a full report on other candidates' comments on key issues on Wednesday.

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