A Florida sheriff's deputy was arrested after authorities said he threatened to kill federal agents who were under attack by rioters at the U.S. Capitol this month.
The man, Polk County Deputy Peter Heneen, 29, was booked on suspicion of making threats to kill or do bodily injury, a second-degree felony, officials said.
Heneen has been suspended, and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he has started the administrative process of firing the deputy, who has been on the job for 6½ years.
Heneen's alleged threats, made in text messages to a fellow deputy, had to be taken seriously, Judd told reporters during a news conference Tuesday.
"Words matter, and threatening words to hurt to kill are not acceptable," he said.
Rioters, egged on by President Donald Trump's continual lies that he was cheated out of winning November's election, stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and delayed Congress' formal acceptance of the Electoral College votes that secured Joe Biden's win.
The mob attack left at least five people dead.
Heneen appeared to be livid with police and federal agents who stood up against the mob, according to text messages revealed by Judd. Heneen's profanity-laced words included:
- "F--- the feds. No shoot the feds. Need to make the streets of DC run red with the blood of these tyrants."
- "I'll f------ kill them all."
- "Any cop or military who stands in the way is the enemy."
The colleague reported Heneen's diatribe to their lieutenant the next morning, touching off the investigation that ended in Heneen's arrest, Judd said.
"Our deputy that reported this is a hero," Judd said. "I tell my deputies that doing what's right it's not always easy, but it's always right."
Heneen was booked into the Polk County Jail and later released. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Heneen's lawyer was not listed in jail records, and Polk County deputies are not represented by a labor union.