SHELTON, Conn. (WTNH) – A Connecticut man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to kill a Florida sheriff, according to authorities.
The Volusia Sheriff’s Office said an internet user posted a death threat online on 4Chan against Sheriff. Mike Chitwood. The Central Florida Intelligence Exchange flagged the post which read “I WILL KILL CHITWOOD, MARK MY WORDS,” and traced it to a home in Ansonia, Connecticut.
Police said Cristhian Zapata, 23, had been the person responsible for posting the online threat.
Zapata had been living with his sister and her family when the threat was posted. Zapata’s sister told police her brother was always on his computer and often participated in extremist chat rooms on conspiracy theories and white supremacist ideology. She also shared her brother was fascinated with Adolf Hitler, police said.
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Authorities learned Zapata and his sister’s family moved from the Ansonia apartment to their mother’s home in Shelton.
Police made contact with Zapata who then admitted to posting the death threat, police said.
Zapata said he heard about recent events in Florida and other online threats to kill the sheriff. He told police he was surprised other people had been arrested because he believes in the first amendment. Zapata said he identified as a nationalist, according to police.
Shelton police arrested Zapata on Wednesday night on a felony warrant for making a threat to kill, an offense that carries a $100,000 bond. Zapata is currently in police custody pending extradition to Volusia County in Florida.
Zapata’s arrest follows those of Tyler Meyer in San Diego, California, and Richard Golden in South Brunswick, New Jersey, who were charged with the same offenses, authorities said.
According to police, the three suspects were described as young men with limited social activity who spent the majority of their time online participating in extremist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist forums online.
Police said the online threats were posted after Sheriff Chitwood called out a far-right extremist group for threatening Jewish people in Volusia County and within central Florida.