A former Florida sheriff deputy who now works as a children’s clown was arrested for an aggravated stalking charge Thursday after he made a series of threats against his family and others.
“The arrest of retired Monroe County deputy Derick Velez, 58, who now lives in the DeLand area, followed several disturbing comments on social media referencing the tragedies at Columbine and Parkland, indicating those were “nothing” compared to what he could do,” said Volusia County Sheriff’s office in a statement online.
Deputies say Velez also operates a children’s clown business and occasionally performs as “Po Po the Clown.”
Velez is in custody at the Volusia County Branch Jail with no bond.
He was arrested Thursday afternoon on a warrant that was obtained that same day, after detectives learned of the threats and increasingly bizarre behavior.
Last month, Velez was taken into protective custody under Florida’s Baker Act.
According to investigators, following his release, his behavior continued to put his family in fear. It was reported that on July 27, Velez told his 9-year-old daughter he was going to take her and her mother to “the most magical place on the planet.”
The daughter thought he was going to take them to Disney. He told her that he meant he was “taking you and mommy to heaven next month.”
Velez was again taken into protective custody and began contacting his wife while he was in custody, threatening to harm her. He continued to call her repeatedly after she told him to stop.
Detectives noted that the calls “followed weeks of threatening behavior where Derick made statements that he was going to commit mass murders, he believed he is a prophet of God and has been commanded to form an army and they were going to rise up.”Prior to the arrest, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office contacted law enforcement in Volusia County to provide background information on Velez and warn local deputies and police about his threatening behavior.
Velez had also made threats against former colleagues in law enforcement in Monroe County.
Velez was previously ordered by a judge to surrender firearms under a Risk Protection Order that remains in effect.
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