Police arrest Florida man over alleged death threats against Republicans: Report

Police arrested a 61-year-old Florida man after he allegedly threatened to kill a number of Republican politicians and their supporters, Fox 35 reports.

According to the Orlando-based Fox affiliate, the suspect is Richard Szala, a registered Democrat from Clearwater, Florida.

The investigation

According to Clearwater Lt. Michael Walek, the police first got word of the alleged threats early Wednesday morning. “We got a credible tip from an information intelligence gathering source about him posting threatening comments on YouTube,” Walek told Fox 35.

According to Walek, local police got a number of additional agencies involved in the case, including the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service. The investigators were able to track the online activity to a house in Clearwater. There, they found Szala.

Investigators also found a gun belonging to the suspect, which they reportedly seized, along with his computer and phone.

According to Walek, Szala was arrested without incident.

The allegations

According to the Daily Caller, Walek told reporters that Szala’s “comments were directed to the Republican Party, specific people in the Republican Party. He was threatening to shoot them,” the officer added.

Some of Szala’s alleged targets were supporters of President Donald Trump — including, apparently, Szala’s own neighbors. Others were Republican lawmakers, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sens. Marco Rubio (FL) and Rick Scott (FL), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL).

Szala told investigators that the threats were not serious, and that he was “just running his mouth,” according to Fox 35.

The price

Unfortunately for Szala, it doesn’t look like investigators are going to let him off that easy. “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 said of the suspect, according to Fox 35. “If you make a threat and were able to establish probable cause, you’re going to go to jail.”

According to Fox 35, Szala, who was arrested for a similar crime in Illinois in 1989, is now facing the felony charge of making a false report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner.

Szala was released from jail Tuesday after posting a $10,000 bond, the Daily Caller reported.

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