Man in custody for alleged Obama threats described as 'polite' by neighbors



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Secret Service is investigating a threat made as President Barack Obama visited Central Florida on Thursday.

WFTV was there as deputies and the Secret Service surrounded an Orange County apartment complex.

The suspect was taken into custody, strapped to a gurney and hauled off to the hospital to be evaluated after allegedly making a threat against the President of the United States or former President Bill Clinton, both of whom visited Central Florida on Thursday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office told WFTV the Secret Service asked for help tracking down the man after it received a credible verbal threat.

Just after 6 p.m. authorities moved in at the Winter Park Pointe apartments, which is only about four miles down Semoran Boulevard from the Cuban restaurant where Obama made a surprise stop.

His landlord, Dennis Abriola, would not reveal his name, but did told WFTV more about him.

"I come in to find out who it was, and I looked in his file and the guy has always been a complete gentleman -- never caused any problems. He's been a good man," said Abriola.

Abriola said the tenant is a veteran who has lived in his unit for about two years.

"The guy has never had any issues with the neighbors, every time he's come in here he's been polite," said Abriola.

Neighbors had quite the scare as deputies and Secret Service agents roamed around the property.

"They were all over the place with guns drawn, looking for someone," said witness Stanley Saunders.

Rick Williams came out of his apartment and was feet from a gun-wielding deputy.

"I saw him kneeling a little closer up with an M-16 pointing at that door. He was still pointing at that door. And there was a lady cop with a pistol drawn," said Williams.

A sheriff's office spokesman told WFTV the man who lives at the complex along Semoran Boulevard made several verbal threats earlier in the day.

The sheriff’s office said it was determined that the man was in need of assistance and his state met the criteria of the Baker Act statute.

It's still unclear if Obama is the person he threatened.

A Secret Service spokesman told WFTV they protect presidents, former presidents and their family members, but wouldn't confirm who the threat was against.

The Secret Service wouldn't talk specifics because it's an active investigation.

The man will be observed by health officials for three days, and then possibly arrested, according to officials.

"Some people take the wrong step and make the wrong choice. No matter whom they are. He made the wrong choice. I feel for him. I hope he gets the help he needs," said Saunders.

The man's name hasn't been released and might not be, due to the circumstances.

It is unknown whether he made the threat in person or called it in.