WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - A Polk County man is behind bars after he allegedly threatened to shoot members of Congress and their families, along with law enforcement and "liberals," depending on how the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh played out.
According to Sheriff Grady Judd, the threats came in a series of public Facebook posts made in late September by James Royal Patrick Jr. The messages included photos of guns and ammunition and threatened Democrats and "weak Republicans" if Kavanaugh's confirmation failed.
"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," he allegedly wrote on September 21.
"Ladies and gentlemen, words matter," Sheriff Judd stated Thursday afternoon. "These are the words of someone that's capable of committing mass murder."
Judd said his deputies were tipped off to the posts on Wednesday. Within hours, deputies and FBI agents raided the home on Avenue C NE in Winter Haven. Inside, they allegedly found a hunting rifle and scope, a 50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun, and ammunition for both, along with receipts from gun shops and several used targets.
The sheriff said Patrick, 53, later claimed he wasn't targeting anyone in particular and didn't intend to hurt anyone. However, Patrick now faces one count of written threats to kill or injure and is being held on a $500,000 bond.
"People need to calm down and chill out," Judd continued, blaming the media and social media for divisive language. "The Democrats aren't the enemy. The Republicans aren't the enemy. We are all Americans."
According to Patrick's arrest affidavit, his 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."
-- "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!"