TALLAHASSEE, FL (LEON COUNTY)– According to justice.gov, a man from Tallahassee was arrested by federal law enforcement agents for "transmission, in interstate commerce, of a communication containing a threat to kidnap or to injure." The suspect allegedly published a "call to arms for like-minded individuals" to confront protestors who were gathered at the Florida Capitol with acts of violence. The suspect is accused of specifically beckoned others to meet him and encircle protestors and confine them to the Capitol while using firearms.
The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Lawrence Keefe, published the arrest. Mr. Keefe stated that extremists with the intent to use violence from all sides of the social and political spectrums have to be stopped, and these individuals will be stopped. According to Mr. Keefe, the hard work of all law enforcement agencies working on the case helps to avert a disaster. Law enforcement would not stop trying to detect, deter, and disrupt individuals who are planning to commit or incite acts of violence. Mr. Keefe stated that law enforcement agencies must be as transparent as possible to allow the public to see how the federal government works hard to protect the public and uphold the rule of law.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested the suspect without incident with the help of the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The suspect appeared before Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos at the U.S. Courthouse.
The suspect, a former U.S. Army Airborne infantryman who was booted out of the Army, had a history of revealing his beliefs in using violence. The suspect's social media posts also became increasingly violent as the suspect openly expressed his intent to violently obstruct protests happening a few days before and on Inauguration Day. The suspect openly recruited others to join him. The suspect has actively participated in several protests across the United States. He has used social media to encourage, promote, and educate his followers on how to incapacitate and debilitate law enforcement officers.
Mr. Keefe also stated that the suspect's arrest serves as a strong message to those who intend to commit or incite violence in the Northern District of Florida that those people represent a threat to public safety, and the States Attorneys Office we will find you and prosecute you.
The suspect is seen in photos and YouTube videos using or possessing several types of firearms, including guns that use high-capacity magazines. In some social media posts, the suspect was attempting to buy more firearms within the last 24-48 hours.
According to Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, agencies like the FBI are focused on identifying, investigating, and stopping individuals intending to inciting violence or engage in any criminal activity. The FBI is coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to provide safety and wellbeing to all citizens in North Florida. The other agencies include the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Tallahassee Police Department, and the Leon County Sheriff's Office, have been vital in this case.