Florida sheriff’s deputy charged with making threats on night of Capitol riot

Capitol Riots

BARTOW, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — A Florida deputy was arrested Tuesday for threatening to kill federal officials following the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, officials said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced during a news conference that Deputy Peter Heneen, 29, was charged with making written threats to kill, conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. The deputy, who was hired more than six years ago, has been suspended pending termination, Judd said.

“I am angry beyond words,” Judd said. “Having him arrested was important. Having him arrested before Inauguration Day was even more important.”

Heneen had been communicating with another deputy on Facebook private messenger, angry about a rioter who had been fatally shot while trying to break through a door, the sheriff’s office said.

According to screenshots of the conversation, Heneen talked about shooting “the feds” and making “the streets of DC run red with the blood of these tyrants,” officials said.

The other deputy, who officials did not name, reported Heneen to his supervisors on Jan. 8. Judd said they are still investigating, but Heneen does not appear to be part of any organized group or militia.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Heneen.

Latest News

Other Capitol riot arrests

An officer with the Houston Police Department is in FBI custody after his suspected participation in the riots.

According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, agents questioned Richmond, Texas, resident Tam Dinh Pham after he turned himself in. During the interview, Pham said he had been in Washington, D.C., with his wife on a business trip from Jan. 5 to 7 but had not attended the rally in support of now former President Donald Trump. He also denied going to the Capitol building.

But when agents asked to see Pham’s phone, they found no photos from the time period when he would have been in D.C. This prompted agents to ask if they could see his “deleted” photo album — where they found several photos and videos agents say were easily identifiable as being taken inside the Capitol building.

Agents say Pham claimed he wasn’t affiliated with any of the groups promoting the rally on social media and that he hadn’t carried a weapon. Instead, Pham said he’d merely seen people walking toward the Capitol building and followed them.

He alleges he continued following the crowd over fences, around barricades and past police officers as they moved inside the Capitol. Agents say at this time, he finally admitted to entering the building.

Pham, who says he’s been an HPD officer for 18 years, turned over the photos and videos to the FBI, where he reportedly can be seen for several minutes inside the Rotunda.

He’s charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and with violent entry/disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Joseph Biggs, 37, a self-described organizer for the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, was arrested in central Florida Wednesday on charges of taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, authorities said.

He faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, entering a restricted area on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and disorderly conduct.

Biggs appeared to be wearing a walkie-talkie during the storming of the Capitol, but he told FBI agents that he had no knowledge about the planning of the destructive riot and didn’t know who organized it, the affidavit said.

Ahead of the riot, Biggs told followers of his on the social media app Parler to dress in black to resemble the far-left antifa movement, according to the affidavit.

Biggs had organized a 2019 rally in Portland, Oregon, in which more than 1,000 far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators faced off.

The Proud Boys are a neofascist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies.

An online court docket did not indicate whether Biggs has an attorney who could comment.

A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail, a federal judge decided Thursday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson directed that Riley June Williams be released into the custody of her mother, with travel restrictions, and instructed her to appear Monday in federal court in Washington to continue her case.

Williams, 22, of Harrisburg, is accused of theft, obstruction and trespassing, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Carlson noted Williams has no prior criminal record.

More than 100 people have been arrested so far in connection with the Capitol riots, a figure prosecutors expect will grow significantly as the FBI continues to analyze more than 200,000 photos and videos.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNationNow.com