ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Carolina man accused of writing threats to commit an act of terrorism was arrested on Tuesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials.
Thomas James Stephan, 30, a civilian Air Force police officer at a joint base in Charleston, was located in Orange County and detained by Orlando police until agents arrested him, according to FDLE.
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Officials said the South Carolina Fusion Center issued a warning that Stephan was in Florida on Tuesday and that they believed, based on a text exchange, he was driving to the Patrick Space Force base in Satellite Beach.
According to an arrest warrant, however, investigators located him on the South Kirkman Road overpass at Vineland Road, where he was threatening to jump.
Records show Stephan threatened to commit a mass casualty event with his vehicle by driving it into a hospital and to commit “suicide by cop” by engaging in a shootout with police.
The string of messages recovered show Stephan had identified a hospital and military base, most likely Patrick Space Force base, as targets in an act of terrorism to cause death and injury to multiple people, according to the warrant.
“Mass cass (sic) it is” was the last text message he sent to someone before being found by police, records reveal.
He is currently booked in the Orange County jail without bond.
Stephan’s case will be prosecuted by the state attorney’s office in the 18th judicial circuit.