Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office detectives on Wednesday arrested 53-year-old James Royal Patrick, Jr., of Winter Haven, Fla., for allegedly threatening to kill members of Congress who did not support the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
PCSO received an email tip at 11 a.m. that day advising that a man named James Patrick was posting numerous threatening remarks on his Facebook page, which is open to the public. The threats were made on Sept. 22, 24, and 29, and said he was going to shoot members of Congress and their families depending on which way the Supreme Court justice confirmation vote went, and any local or federal law enforcement that responded to his home. “I can tell it seems I will be sacrificing my life for my country,” he wrote. “But I am ready and will know who needs to be killed after the vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.”
Detectives conducted an investigation, and obtained an arrest warrant and a search warrant, and took the suspect into custody at 4 p.m. that same day.
“Within five hours of receiving an email tip about the posts, our detectives investigated it, obtained an arrest warrant and search warrant, and took the suspect into custody without incident,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “People need to calm down, and stop making threats of violence – we will not tolerate it. Anyone who threatens to kill a public officer or law enforcement officer will go to jail.”
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 him, along with photos of guns and ammunition. Deputies positively identified Patrick and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was taken into custody at his home around 4 p.m. without incident. He admitted to posting the comments, and said he just wanted to annoy liberals by making “crazy statements,” the sheriff’s office said. 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.”
A search warrant for the residence was obtained, and during the search deputies seized a 308 hunting rifle with scope, a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, ammunition for both, numerous receipts from local gun shops, and several used targets.
He remains in the Polk County Jail on $500,000 bond. His criminal history includes a prior arrest in 2009 for simple battery.