CLEARWATER, FL - August 25, 2020 - According to an online news report published on TampaBay.com, a man from Clearwater, Florida, was arrested following a seven-hour standoff with law enforcement. The 49-year-old Clearwater man is facing numerous criminal severe charges after a confrontation with the police at the Standard Apartments located on Drew Street in Clearwater, Florida.
The seven-hour standoff began when the 49-year-old suspect threatened to murder his wife. The suspect's wife called the police just after 11 p.m. Saturday night and told the police that her husband had threatened to kill her by slitting her throat and then shooting her. According to Police Chief Dan Slaughter, the suspect aimed his firearms at law enforcement officers on several occasions, and he threatened to kill police officers and his wife. The woman, who was in fear of being murdered was able to escape their Clearwater apartment.
According to the news report, the suspect allegedly threatened to shoot police officers responding to the domestic abuse call. The suspect allegedly sent a text message to law enforcement officers that read, "Come to my door, and I will shoot you."
The suspect refused to exit his apartment and turn himself as demanded by law enforcement officers at the scene. According to law enforcement, the suspect barricaded himself within the apartment with a number of firearms and weapons. In the area of the standoff, the apartments were evacuated by law enforcement officers as a negotiation team engaged the suspect, and SWAT members planned to arrest the suspect.
At approximately 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, law enforcement officers were able to place the suspect into their custody. Police Chief Dan Slaughter stated that all officers involved showed enormous restraint and patience in the standoff. No one was injured in the police standoff.
The suspect was transported to the Pinellas County jail, and he was booked on several charges. The 49-year-old Clearwater man has been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (after the standoff) and written threats or communications of a mass shooting, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Florida Statute §836.10 – “Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily Injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism”
Under Florida Statute §836.10, it is illegal to threaten another person with bodily harm or death using any type of communication. The statute defines the crime of “Written Threats to Kill, Do Bodily Injury, or Conduct a Mass Shooting or an Act of Terrorism” as an individual who composes or writes and also sends or has another send of a letter, electronic communication, or a inscribed communication, which is anonymous or signed, to another person, that includes a threat to do bodily injury or murder the person who the communication or letter was sent or a threat to commit an act of terrorism or a mass shooting.
This crime is charged as a second-degree felony and is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a $10,000.00 fine, and 15 years of probation. This crime is a Level 6 crime according to the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. This mean, first-time offenders will not receive any leniency by prosecutors who will likely seek maximum prison sentences or hard, restrictive probationary sentences if the defendant is convicted.