Ryan Scott Connell MUG

Ryan Scott Connell

Ryan Scott Connell is no longer in the Citrus County Detention Facility.

That’s because the 35-year-old Floral City man, who threatened to “shoot up” and harm students at two local schools, was transferred into the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections, according to a spokesman with both the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and the FDOC.

However, the Florida VINELink system sent out an alert system text message to subscribers, advising he had been released from custody Wednesday. The alert did not provide further details and clarification, which led citizens to believe that Connell was released early from his sentencing, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, which noted Connell had been transferred to the Department of Correction’s Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler.

“As we have done since Connell’s July arrest where he first made threats to harm our students, our office will continue to monitor the progress of Connell’s status to ensure the safety of our students and our community,” the sheriff’s office stated on its Facebook page. “Our youth are our main priority and we will continue to advocate for the safety of our students and school staff in partnership with the Citrus County School District.”

Connell was sentenced Nov. 21 to five years in prison for violating his probation, stemming for using an illegal drug he claims he never touched. When he was charged with violating the terms of his probation, he broke a holding cell window and threatened to “shoot up” and harm students at two local schools.

Connell's sentencing stems from testing positive for codeine July 31 in Mental Health Court, breaking the terms of his probation, which carried a prison sentence of up to five years for a violation.

Connell was not charged for his purported threats against Inverness Primary and Citrus High schools, because there’s no state law that allows prosecution for verbal threats.

As a result, Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, filed a bill that would make it a felony for a person to say they’ll attack someone or a building with a weapon. 

“I would like to apologize for what I said on that day … I use this ‘snapping thing’ as like a vent,” Connell said at his Nov. 21 sentencing, explaining his symptoms of what he said is depression. “I have a lot of respect for human life.”

At his sentencing, Connell insisted Thursday he never had an intention to follow through on his threats, but uses them to strike a cord with people who get him upset, instead of striking them. 

“I’m getting hurt and there’s no way to hurt them back without physically beating them up,” he said. “I want the mental scar of it, the ‘shock thing,’ I guess.”

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