A wannabe sheriff saw two men holding hands. He responded by asking ‘where’s my gun’

Terry King. (Facebook)

A candidate for a Michigan, US, sheriff is under fire for homophobic text messages which saw him jokingly threaten to shoot a same-sex couple for holding hands.

Terry King, who is running in a heated race for the top job in Alpena County, sent a series of homophobic texts to his family in 2013 during his time as undersheriff, according to phone logs obstained by a local activist. the Detroit Free Press reported.

In October 10 exchange, King sent from his county-owned mobile phone number that he had just seen a pair of men holding hands. “Where’s my fricken’ gun,” he said, “bang bang.”

Sheriff candidate homophobic text messages spark protests in Michigan. 

The log showed King texting his daughter, Kimberely. Attending a wedding in Saint Joseph County, Kimberely asked whether he was in “homoland”.

After King commented on the couple, Kimberely hit back: “They kiss and stuff! Ew.”

The exchange was obtained via a Michigan Freedom of Information Act by Bob Reid, a 58-year-old county resident, whose wife is a deputy at the sheriff’s office.

“He didn’t just give it to a couple of people,” Reid said. “He sent them to his wife and his daughter.

“It paints a different picture because it makes you think, wait a minute, he’s so comfortable with his hatred, that he shares it with his immediate family.”

The uncovered texts sparked fury from local LGBT+ activists, who, according to The Alpena News, staged a 50-person-strong protest in opposition to King. They poured out onto Chisholm Street last Saturday (July 18), holding LGBT+ Pride flags and placards.

The text messages and the sudden protests were the latest controversy to shudder King, who is currently facing his former boss, sheriff Steve Kieliszewski, in the primary.

King was forced to resign last year after Kieliszewski accused him impropriety. As a result, King launched a whistleblower lawsuit, suing on the grounds of wrongful termination.