A Florida man was arrested last week on charges of threatening to carry out a mass shooting attack at the Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida in Fort Meyers.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno of the Lee County Sherrif’s office said on Thursday at a press conference that the suspect, identified as Alfredo Sanchez, 43, was a member of the synagogue.
Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz, the Chabad center’s director confirmed the sheriff’s report, saying that Sanchez and his family were regulars at the Chabad center, Collive reported.
Marceno said that his office received a tip from “a concerned temple member regarding a threat made against a synagogue in Fort Myers.”
“Sanchez made at least one statement indicating that he had the ability and the means to carry out a shooting at the synagogue,” Marceno continued. “It was also reported that Sanchez offered to sell a firearm to a synagogue member.”
“He comes to the synagogue, prays, he studies, he volunteers, he helps out – so yes absolutely it was a surprise,” Rabbi Mincowicz said. “We had no inkling of any of this stuff.”
After obtaining an arrest warrant, Lee County officers searched Sanchez’s home and found ammunition, gun cases and gun cleaning accessories. Upon further investigation, police investigators found a duffel bag believed to belong to Sanchez with four firearms, including an AK47 style rifle at a relative’s home.
Sanchez was a convicted felon who has been arrested nine times in the past and was sentenced to prison for firearms charges. He was first arrested in 1996 for prostitution and lewd behavior.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)