A Jacksonville man was arrested this month after allegedly telling a co-worker he would drive to Orlando to get his assault rifle and two pistols so he could shoot each of his four supervisors. Rodney Rhyne was charged with making threats in Jacksonville, a Florida misdemeanor, according to a report on News4Jax. The fact he was even arrested at all shows how much our culture has changed in an era where mass shootings are becoming somewhat the norm.
Rhyne allegedly told the co-worker he would have 12 rounds in the magazine so he could shoot each of his bosses in the head three times, the television station reported. Rhyne apparently had received poor performance reviews and felt discriminated against at his job, the television station reported. When police contacted Rhyne at his home, he told them he did say those things, but he was just "blowing off steam," according to the news report.
The problem with proving this case Jacksonville threat case against Rhyne is both he and the co-worker could be right. The co-worker heard him say it and may have felt that Rhyne was absolutely serious and was very close to pulling off an office shooting. The law does not require the state to prove that a person, Rhyne in this Jacksonville Threat Crimes case, has the means to carry out the threat he or she is charged with making. So it would not matter if Rhyne had access to the guns he spoke about, though it certainly would help the state's case. As far as Rhyne goes, it is also reasonable to believe he was exaggerating and speaking in hyperbole when he said what he is accused of saying. People make wild threats all the time, and always have, but they are just taken far more seriously today given recent events. Keep in mind, this is essentially a he said-he said case. We don't yet know what the relationship is between Rhyne and his accuser, so there's no way to know if there's a possibly that he has a personal motivation for getting Rhyne in trouble. There won't be much more evidence in the case. It will be the accuser's word and probably testimony and evidence about Rhyne and his job performance and reviews - which really aren't an indicator if someone is "upset enough" to open fire in the workplace.
But, in today's society, police will be investigating any case where a similar threat is made. And it will be interesting to see how cases like this Jacksonville criminal case are handled in the legal system. Just when does talking about a potential crime actually become a crime itself? Despite it being a misdemeanor in Jacksonville, expect plenty of attention on this Jacksonville criminal case as attorneys and observers look for precedent in what will likely be a more common charge going forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.