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Death threats against jail deputies guarding Dontae Morris investigated

TAMPA — Detectives are investigating two death threats made against detention deputies guarding Dontae Morris, the man accused of killing two Tampa police officers.

"The threats were specific in nature, they were pointed, they were violent and we're treating them as seriously as we possibly can," Hillsborough Sheriff's Col. Jim Previtera said Friday.

The threats identified two detention deputies and were made in two phone calls to the Hillsborough County jail sometime within the last 10 days, Previtera said.

"Both of the callers had similarities," he said. "There were references to Morris that clearly were associated to the detention of Morris."

Morris is charged with murder in connection with the June 29 deaths of officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.

The Sheriff's Office and detectives from the jail intelligence unit are investigating the threats with assistance from Tampa police, Previtera said.

The names of the two deputies who were threatened are not being released for their own security. They and their families have been afforded additional security, Previtera said.

"I think it's important for the public to understand just how dangerous these detention deputies jobs are," he said. "They deal with the most violent offenders and often go unnoticed and under-appreciated."

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

Death threats against jail deputies guarding Dontae Morris investigated 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 5:23pm]
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