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Ex-police officer who lives in Florida accused of threatening violence in DC

Authorities say he claimed to be building an anti-tank rifle and sub-machine guns.
Credit: Haines City Police Department

HAINES CITY, Fla. — A Polk County man was arrested Tuesday after investigators say he made threatening comments on Facebook about carrying out violence in Washington, D.C.

Shannon Badgett, 53, of Haines City, was charged with communicating a written threat to conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.  

The Haines City Police Department said Badgett took issue with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and posted about going to a "target rich environment" in Washington if President Donald Trump did not declare martial law.

"The post adds 'Pew. Pew. Pew' to insinuate the firing of shots," the police department wrote in a news release.

"He added that a lot of good people were going to die if 'Roberts' did not resign - a possible reference to Supreme Court Justice John Roberts," police explained in the release. "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 previously worked as a police officer in Ohio.

Authorities say he was investigated Monday by the FBI on accusations of sending emails to a circuit judge in Nevada. Police say he denied sending those emails.

No guns were found in his home, according to law enforcement.

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

The police department said family members told detectives that Badgett has mental health conditions. He was taken to the Polk County Jail with a Baker Act form, according to authorities, and will undergo a mental health evaluation.

"Given the high political tensions of late, these threats simply could not be ignored," Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky wrote in a statement. "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."

A risk protection order has been served on Badgett. It restricts his access to guns and ammunition, according to authorities.

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