TAMPA — A man arrested on felony charges after a road rage incident in Seminole last August has been indicted on federal hate crime charges after a Tampa-based federal grand jury ruled Friday that his actions were a “racially-motivated attack on a Black man who was driving along a public road.”
Investigators say Jordan Patrick Leahy, 29, of Palm Harbor, was driving drunk down Starkey Road when he sideswiped another vehicle near the intersection with Brian Dairy Road around 10 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2021.
According to his arrest report, Leahy, who is white, stuck his arm in the air in a Nazi salute as he drove past the vehicle he had just hit, and then pretended to shoot the other driver with his fingers as he drove through the intersection and threw his car into park.
Leahy then leaped out of his vehicle and “aggressively” approached the other car, punching the driver in the chest before the man could stop him, investigators said.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has not named the man driving the other vehicle, but noted that he is Black and his girlfriend and daughter were also in the car at the time of the attack.
A previously released affidavit from the night of Leahy’s arrest says he told responding deputies he “wanted to fight a random colored person” and cautioned that “y’all need to control them,” before making more derogatory comments about Black people and repeatedly yelling racial slurs.
That was enough for deputies to arrest Leahy on charges of felony battery and driving under the influence, resulting in property damage. But once he was in custody, the Sheriff’s Office added an additional charge of making threatening communications or threats of a mass shooting because of statements he made during questioning.
Investigators who spoke with Leahy said he openly told them he wanted to conduct a mass shooting, and that he aimed to kill 70 to 80 people before taking his own life. Deputies said Leahy claimed he is a “sheltered, white citizen” and that “society needs to be concerned how easily he could conduct a mass shooting.”
The two-count indictment issued in federal court on Friday says the grand jury determined Leahy’s actions were meant to “willfully intimidate and interfere with (the other driver) and attempt to injure, intimidate, and interfere with (the driver) because of his race and color.” The indictment also says Leahy attempted to injure the man with a “dangerous weapon” — his vehicle.
If convicted, Leahy faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Leahy was booked into a Pinellas County jail on the federal hate crime charges on Friday evening.