NewsPolk County


Former police officer arrested in Haines City for Facebook posts threatening violence in D.C.

Badgett mug.jpg
Posted at 11:43 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 11:43:20-05

A Haines City man was arrested on Tuesday for making threatening remarks online about carrying out violence in the nation's capital, police said.

Shannon Badgett, 53, is charged with communicating a written threat to conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism. The threats made via Facebook were reported by one of Badgett's Facebook contacts.

Authorities say Badgett's post included a reference to the ongoing election controversies, saying "our courts are unable to articulate their choice by refusing to hear any evidence regarding voter fraud."

Badgett made posts about going to a "target-rich environment" in Washington D.C. if President Donald Trump did not declare martial law. The post adds "Pew. Pew. Pew" to insinuate the firing of shots, officials said.

He added that a lot of good people were going to die if "Roberts" did not resign - what police say was a possible reference to Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. In that post, Badgett claimed to be building an anti-tank rifle and sub-machine guns without applying for permitting.

In his post, Badgett wrote that the government can't tell him what to do.

Badgett, a former police officer in Ohio, was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday after allegedly sending emails to a circuit judge in Nevada. Badgett denied sending those emails.

Family members told detectives that Badgett has been diagnosed with mental health disorders. There were no guns in the home.

According to investigators, Badgett acknowledged writing the posts, but insisted that he had no intentions of harming anyone. He said the posts were a way of expressing his frustration with voter fraud and that he was free to post whatever he liked/

Badgett was taken to the Polk County Jail with a Baker Act form. His mental health will be evaluated. A risk protection order was served on Badgett to restrict his access to guns and ammunition, police say.

"Given the high political tensions of late, these threats simply could not be ignored," Chief Jim Elensky said. "Our detectives acted swiftly to ensure that these posts did not escalate into actions here or anywhere else. For the safety of everyone around him, he will be evaluated mentally to ensure he has access to the help he needs."