Police officer accused of threats in South Carolina, Florida

December 9, 2021 GMT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A police officer who was detained while threatening to jump off a highway overpass in Orlando had been threatening to run his vehicle into a hospital or military base so that authorities would be forced to kill him, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

The FDLE arrested Thomas James Stephan on Wednesday after receving a warning from authorities in South Carolina, where the man has worked as a civilian police officer at Joint Base Charleston.

An arrest affidavit said Stephan, 30, sent multiple text messages on Tuesday to a sworn law enforcement officer at the Air Force base, threatening to run his vehicle into a hospital or access a military installation and provoke a deadly shootout.

Officials in South Carolina interviewed his associates at the base to determine what phone number he was using, and learned that Stephan was near Patrick Air Force Base on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the report said. He was later spotted on the overpass and detained by Orlando Police for evaluation and investigation until the FDLE warrant was issued.

He is being held without bond at the Orange County Jail. The case will be prosecuted by the state attorney’s office. A lawyer who could speak on behalf of Stephan was not listed on jail records.