A convicted felon who threatened to kill his Florida girlfriend drove there from Connecticut, broke into her house, grabbed a gun and chased her before being subdued by deputies over the weekend, Florida authorities said.
Aaron James Thayer, 39, of Justice Lane in Bunnell, Florida, was charged Saturday with written threats to kill, attempted premeditated murder with a firearm, possession of a firearm/ammunition by a convicted felon, petit theft and resisting arrest without violence. He was in custody at the Sheriff Perry Hall Detention Facility without bail, they said. Formerly from Connecticut, he was staying in the state for work.
Deputies used a stun gun on Thayer when he refused to get on the ground as they repeatedly ordered, police said. The tense scene was captured on one of the deputy’s body camera and posted on YouTube.
“This guy told the victim he was going to kill her and less than 24 hours later he had driven all night and was at her door to kill her,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I am so thankful that my deputies were able to intercept this guy and used their training, tactics and de-escalation techniques before he was able to hurt anyone,” he said of deputies Jen Prevatt and Ed Faircloth.
Thayer, who has a conviction in Connecticut for first-degree assault, later told police he would never hurt his family and said he grabbed the gun to protect himself against what he thought was the woman’s new boyfriend.
According to an affidavit provided by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Thayer’s girlfriend called police Friday because Thayer had been sending her threatening texts that included “Imma kill you” and “I’m coming down and I’m gonna fix this forever.”
When Prevatt arrived, the woman told the deputy she was afraid Thayer would carry out his threat because he has injured her in the past. In December, he choked her, but she didn’t report it to police, she told the deputy; before that, he had kicked her in the face with steel-toe boots, the affidavit said.
Meanwhile, Thayer kept texting the woman, angrily demanding to know who was at the house. He had surveillance cameras set up around the home and was monitoring her movements from Connecticut, the document said. Prevatt also heard him threaten her on the phone.
Deputies kept an eye on the house while police got a warrant for Thayer’s arrest. They also checked his cellphone’s location, and initial pings indicated he was headed south, the affidavit said.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the woman called police and said Thayer had arrived and was breaking in. She called back a few minutes later and said she was in the street and that he had a gun. Thayer had used a tire iron to pry open a door, accused her of cheating on him and picked up a gun off the bedroom nightstand, prompting her to run out of the home, the affidavit said.
When deputies arrived, they told the woman to stay behind a police car and they ran up to Thayer in the driveway. He put his hands up but refused to get on the ground as they ordered at least a half-dozen times, so Faircloth shot him with a stun gun.
Thayer dropped to the driveway and was handcuffed.
Christine Dempsey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.