Alfredo Sanchez, 43, was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for threatening to carry out a mass shooting at the Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida in Fort Meyers on Wednesday.
Sanchez faces charges of Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Felon.
He allegedly made a statement saying that he had the ability to carry out a shooting at the center which houses a synagogue and a school.
Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz, the center’s director, confirmed that Sanchez and his family were regulars at the center for about a year.
“He comes to the synagogue, prays, he studies, he volunteers, he helps out,” Rabbi Minkowicz said, “so yes absolutely it was a surprise we had no inkling of any of this stuff.”
The rabbi adds that investigators first started looking into Sanchez after hearing about an “unverified” threat against the south Fort Myers synagogue. The convicted felon had previously been arrested and sentenced to prison for firearms charges.
“Talking about threats against a synagogue, I will say yes we take that very, very, very, serious,” Rabbi Minkowicz said. “We work very closely constantly with the local authorities, state authorities, federal authorities. We have a big security budget here that’s funded by local people.”
“Sanchez made at least one statement indicating that he had the ability and the means to carry out a shooting at the synagogue,” LCSO Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in the press conference. “It was also reported that Sanchez offered to sell a firearm to a synagogue member.”
After LCSO interviewed multiple witnesses, probable cause was found for a search warrant of Sanchez’s home where a large amount of ammunition, gun cases, and other accessories were found, but no firearms.