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Polk County deputy arrested, accused of threatening officials after U.S. Capitol riots

Peter Heneen, 29, faces a charge of threatening murder in the second degree.
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Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jan. 19
Updated Jan. 19

A deputy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Tuesday afternoon related to threats of violence made to members of the federal government, said Sheriff Grady Judd in an evening press conference.

Peter Heneen, 29, faces a charge for written threats to kill, do bodily injury, or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, the Sheriff’s Office said. He is accused of sending “threatening” text messages to a colleague on the night of Jan. 6 following violence at the U.S. Capitol.

PCSO deputy arrested

Sheriff Grady Judd is giving details about the arrest of a PCSO deputy sheriff who made written threats related to the violence at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“Need to make the streets of D.C. run red with the blood of the tyrants,” Heneen said of members of Congress, according to Judd. “Should have drug those tyrants into the streets and executed them.”

The fellow deputy Heneen was texting pushed back against his threats, according to Judd. He then showed screenshots of the threats to his superiors the next day, worried about Heneen’s mental state.

Judd said that Heneen, in one text, wrote “shoot the feds.” In another, he said: “You shot someone for what, climbing into a building? You need to shoot the f--- back. F-- the feds, shoot the feds.”

Heneen also sent texts to his colleague where he threatened to “slit the throats” of federal officials, Judd said.

The Sheriff said it was a priority to arrest Heneen before Wednesday’s inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. He also said the Sheriff’s Office will ask for a restraining order to help protect the deputy who turned the messages over to officials.

Heneen has been suspended and is pending termination, according to Judd, depending on the results of a full internal investigation. He said deputies are actively working to obtain search warrants to look further into the deputy’s life.

Judd commended the deputy who turned Heneen’s messages in, calling him a hero.

“Our deputy that reported this is a hero,” said Judd. “I tell my deputies that doing what’s right is not always easy but it is always right. He stood in the face of not only one of his colleagues — but one of his friends.”

Heneen was not known to be a member of any militias, Judd said, adding that “there was no real history on him.” Past conduct violations for Heneen were limited to an on-duty crash and for once defying a superior who told him to shine his shoes.

The Sheriff also condemned the actions of pro-Trump supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, calling it an illegal entry and saying it was “wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“Words matter,” Judd said. “Threatening words to hurt — to kill — are just not acceptable. The community deserves a safe, secure environment where we can prosper. But if we can’t police ourselves first, we can’t police the community.”