A man in Winter Haven, Florida, was arrested Wednesday after deputies said he threatened to shoot and kill senators who oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
James Royal Patrick, Jr., 53, faces felony charges of written threats to kill or injure, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Central Florida. Patrick’s arrest came at 4 p.m. after a tip Wednesday morning about a handful of public Facebook posts, in which Patrick said “I will be ready to kill” senators who voted against Kavanaugh with a sniper rifle that had “plenty of ammo,” deputies said.
“I can tell it seems I will be sacrificing my life for my country,” Patrick wrote on Facebook, according to the sheriff’s office. “But I am ready and will know who needs to be killed after the vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.”
The sheriff’s office said it only took five hours for the tip to lead to a warrant and arrest.
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“People need to calm down, and stop making threats of violence – we will not tolerate it,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “Anyone who threatens to kill a public officer or law enforcement officer will go to jail.”
Kavanaugh’s nomination grew less certain last month after a handful of women came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct, which led to a Senate hearing and a supplemental FBI investigation into the allegations. Now, after senators have reviewed that FBI report, a procedural vote on the nomination is expected later this week.
The sheriff’s office said Patrick’s Facebook page also featured photos of ammunition and guns, which he boasted about in threatening posts.
“Just bought 12 boxes of hollow point 50 caliber bullets….have plenty of ammo for my sniper rifle and bought a suppressor,” one post read, according to the sheriff’s office. “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.”
The sheriff’s office said there were no tunnels beneath Patrick’s home.
Patrick admitted to making the posts when deputies arrested him, and he told deputies that he was trying to annoy liberals with “crazy statements,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Patrick said the threats were empty, and that “thought he could get away with it” because he didn’t name a specific target for the death threats, deputies said.
But the Facebook posts were numerous and threatening, according to the sheriff’s office.
“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,” Patrick wrote in one post, the sheriff’s office said. “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.”
Another post encouraged others to help.
“I can’t do this by myself!” Patrick wrote. “Need more conservatives going into liberals’ homes at night killing them in their sleep!”
Deputies searching Patrick’s home seized a hunting rifle, a Desert Eagle handgun and ammunition, as well as a handful of used targets, according to the sheriff’s office.
Patrick, who was arrested in 2009 on simple battery charges, is being held at the Polk County Jail on $500,000 bond, the sheriff’s office said.
“Who’s to say he wouldn’t have carried this mission out if the vote didn’t go the way he wanted it?” Judd said at a press conference on Thursday. “We would have been wondering — a week from now, a month from now, a year from now — if this guy ever started shooting: Why didn’t somebody say something? … Well, the system worked this time, because somebody saw something, they said something. Because they said something, our detectives investigated.”