Police: Clearwater man threatened to kill Fla. governor, senators, Trump supporters

Local News

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A Clearwater man was arrested Wednesday after being accused of threatening to kill his neighbor, Trump supporters, Ron DeSantis, and other Republican dignitaries, police said.

The Clearwater Police Department looked into Richard Szala, 61, after being notified that he was leaving threatening comments on YouTube videos.

According to police, Szala left comments on videos threatening to kill Trump supporters, his neighbor, Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Representatives Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

A search of the IP address lead officials to Szala’s location at a home on Elizabeth Avenue in Clearwater.

Neighbor John Clayton is a Trump supporter and can’t believe it.

“We were going to plant signs and what have you, but I thought, you know what, in this environment, maybe not a good idea…and now, oh my God. No clue. Cause you have no idea who your neighbors are,” Clayton said.

Clearwater detectives were eventually able to obtain a confession from Szala and consent to take his gun, computer, and phone. Secret Service agents also talked with him.

Clearwater police call this serious business.

“If you make a credible threat, you are going to jail. You can’t threaten people as a joke or say I’m sorry or say I really didn’t mean that. We don’t know that so we treat all threats as credible,” Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Walek said.

Szala was arrested and charged with making a false report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner.

According to public records, Szala was charged with harassment by phone in Illinois in 1989.

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