With health officials now recommending people wear a mask while in public, one Florida man is accused of taking the advice to the extreme. Police arrested the Highlands County resident after he allegedly threatened a mass shooting at Publix. He's been charged with a second-degree felony — a crime that's punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
"Earlier today, we were made aware of a Facebook post that threatened a mass shooting at Publix. The writer was upset that not enough people, in his opinion, are wearing masks when they are out and about," Highlands County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post.
In the post shared on Tuesday, the sheriff's office gave an update on the man, Robert Kovner, a 62-year-old from Sebring.
He was arrested and booked for making a written threat of mass shooting, which is considered a second-degree felony.
"We realize these are stressful times, but there is no excuse for making threats like this. It’s not a joke. It’s not just a bad day. It’s a crime. We will always take them seriously and you will go to jail," the post continues.
Kovner was booked on felony charges relating to making a written threat of a mass shooting. His bond was set at $30,000.
The CDC has recommended people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
This includes essential work and public destinations like grocery stores, pharmacies and other areas where a significant community-based transmission is possible.
Wearing a cloth face covering correctly can help prevent the spread of #COVID19 to others. When you go out on essen… https://t.co/T82qXr74zi— Dr. Vivek Murthy, 21st U.S. Surgeon General (@Dr. Vivek Murthy, 21st U.S. Surgeon General)1586876101.0
After the CDC's announcement, city officials in the state of Florida followed suit, mandating that residents start wearing masks to cover their nose and mouth to limit the spread of COVID-19.
This included Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who ordered county residents to wear a mask that "snugly covers the face and mouth."
Important message from @MayorGimenez about #COVID19 today, April 9. #coronavirus https://t.co/IDQJpFQiZS— Miami-Dade County (@Miami-Dade County)1586474960.0
The threat joins a line of stories of violence and anxiety related to the recent novel coronavirus pandemic.