Man who made 'active shooter' threat in Cocoa Beach hotel review won't face charges
Texas man arrested after disembarking from cruise ship, police say
COCOA BEACH, Fla. – A man who was arrested for allegedly sending written threats of violence to the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel with not face formal charges, according to the state attorney's office.
The man, 40-year-old Joseph Lee McKinney, of Texas, was taken into custody after he disembarked from a cruise ship at Port Canaveral.
McKinney was accused of making written threats to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. He was arrested Aug. 24 and transported to the Brevard County Jail. He later posted bail.
Cocoa Beach police responded to the hotel Aug. 23 after Hilton personnel received an electronic guest review expressing McKinney's displeasure with his recent stay.
The review contained threatening language that made reference to an "active shooter style" event at the hotel. Police remained on the property throughout the night until investigators could locate McKinney.
"Try to be decent to other human beings because some of us are heavily armed and mentally ill and are on the verge of snapping and wouldn't it be a shame if they stapled active shooter style in your hotel," the review read, according to prosecutors.
The charges were later dropped after persecutors with the state attorney's office determined McKinney's "language didn't amount to a direct specific threat that (he) would kill or do harm to any employee of the hotel," according to a statement.
"While McKinney's actions in this instance are disturbing and justified a response by law enforcement, ultimately prosecutors are legally and ethically prohibited from pursuing criminal prosecution of any defendant when they reasonably believe the alleged crimes cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial," the state attorney's office said. "This standard is much higher than the probable cause standard met by law enforcement when arresting a defendant."
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