A 61-year-old Florida man was apprehended Wednesday for threatening to assassinate state Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis among other GOP lawmakers and fellow citizens, per local reports.
Investigators used registered Democrat Richard Szala’s IP address to locate his home in Clearwater, Florida, according to Fox 35. “We got a credible tip from an information intelligence gather source about him posting threatening comments on YouTube,” Clearwater Lt. Michael Walek told the outlet.
A Clearwater man is in jail for allegedly making violent online threats. Investigators say the 61-year-old posted he was going to kill Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican lawmakers, and supporters of President Trump. https://t.co/ba1LGLuXzJ
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) November 5, 2020
Sources told local police that Szala had specifically mentioned Republican state Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz, per Fox 35. The threats were not only directed at the lawmakers but also reportedly included his neighbor and supporters of President Donald Trump in general. (RELATED: Former Florida AG Alleges ‘Fake Ballots’ In PA, Skirts Around Providing Proof)
“He admitted to making the statements out of anger and just shouldn’t have said it, didn’t mean it, but he still said it,” Walek told the outlet. “If you make a threat and were able to establish probable cause you’re going to go to jail.”
Investigators also reportedly seized a gun, computer and cell phone from Szala. Officials say that Szala was cooperative, per Fox 35. Clearwater police were reportedly aided by Florida law enforcement, the FBI and the Secret Service.
Szala is reportedly facing a felony charge of making a false report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner. He was released later in the day on Nov. 4 after posting a $10,000 bond.