A Winter Haven man was arrested on Thursday after posting on his Facebook page that he was going to shoot members of Congress and their families, depending on which way the Supreme Court justice confirmation vote went.
He also allegedly threatened to shoot any local or federal law enforcement who responded to his home on Jim Keen Boulevard.
The man was identified as James Royal Patrick Jr., 53.
The sheriff’s office received an email tip on Wednesday advising deputies that a man was posting numerous threatening remarks on his public Facebook page.
The threats were made on Sept. 22, 24 and 29.
Patrick said, “I can tell it seems I will be sacrificing my life for my country. But I am ready and will know who needs to be killed after the vote to put [Judge Brett] Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.”
According to the affidavit, the threats included the following statements:
- “Just bought 12 boxes of hollow point 50 caliber bullets….have plenty of ammo for my sniper rifle and bought a suppressor. Have made sure all my arrangements have been made and care for my dogs because I will not be coming home. Have made extra precautions and added more supplies in the tunnel under my house in case local or federal law enforcement tries to stop me.” (Note, there are no tunnels under his house)
- “Getting ready if Kav is not confirmed….whoever I think is to blame may God have mercy on their soul.”
- “Just cleaned out the gun shop where I get guns, ammo, and target practice. Bought all their 50 cal hollow points. I expect to be confronted and I will be ready to kill and ready to die.”
- “I am about to accept an offer on my house just to get more money to fund my plan to kill Democrat office holders and their families. It is all I think about night and day. I even wake up in the middle of the night, most nights, thinking about it. Ultimately I will be killed but hopefully I will have killed many many liberal [sic] elected in Washington.”
- “I can tell it seems I will be sacrificing my life for my country. But I am ready and will know who needs to be killed after the vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. I believe democrats need to be afraid to do what they are doing right now and weak republicans that do not vote for him need to pay with their lives.”
- “I can’t do this by myself! Need more conservatives going into liberals’ homes at night killing them in their sleep!”
His Facebook page also contained photos of Patrick, along with photos of guns and ammunition.
Sheriff Grady Judd said that within five hours of receiving an email tip about the posts, detectives investigated and obtained an arrest warrant.
Deputies took the suspect into custody without incident.
Patrick admitted to posting the comments and said he “just wanted to annoy liberals by making ‘crazy statements.'”
He said he had no intention of carrying out the threats and he didn’t threaten a specific person by name, so he “thought he could get away with it.”
Deputies seized a .308 hunting rifle with a scope, a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, ammunition for both, numerous receipts from local gun shops and several used targets.
Patrick’s neighbor, Jacob Henderson, said Patrick is a funny guy.
“He’s a jokester, jokes 24/7,” said Henderson.
He said he’s never appeared angry.
“No, he’s a jokester and that’s why this is hitting us by surprise. We laugh with this dude all of the time.”
Patrick remains in the Polk County Jail on $500,000 bond.
His criminal history includes a prior arrest in 2009 for simple battery.