It was a memorial for a slain K-9 named Cigo. Hundreds offered condolences to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook post about the memorial service for the K-9 shot and killed on Christmas Eve.
But not all the comments were in sympathy. One person, Jill Hoffman, 66, of Boca Raton, Florida is alleged to have posted 100 comments on the sheriff’s Facebook page where authorities say she threatened a mass shooting.
Hoffman was charged by the PBSO with written threats to kill or conduct a mass shooting, a second-degree felony. Hoffman, who didn’t have a criminal record previously based on a cursory search, could face 15 years in prison if convicted.
She is being held without bail.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Hoffman Used a Fake Facebook Account ‘Michael R. Reed’ & Made Numerous ‘Increasingly Aggressive & Eventually Threatening’ Comments
It was Hoffman’s alleged threat about a mass shooting that saw her arrested, but the “aggressive, accusatory and eventually threatening” posts from a Michael R. Reed, later identified to be Jill Hoffman by police and her family, began to ramp up from a fantasy of seeing police in coffins to a suggestion that the venue for the K-9 memorial would be a good spot for a mass shooting, according to court documents.
The sheriff’s office posted to Facebook on Christmas Eve about Cigo’s death. Soon, comments began to appear from Michael R. Reed that police say were “aggressive in nature and blame the death of the police K-9 on sheriff’s office members.”
Additional announcements were posted about Cigo and his memorial service. Police soon discovered “in excess of 100 comments” from Hoffman as Michael R.Reed “most of which were negative, accusatory, and name-calling …(and) became increasingly aggressive and eventually threatening.”
2. Hoffman’s Family Confirmed the Alias & Her Son Was Worried Given She Used His Home as Her Facebook Profile Picture
In the probable cause affidavit, PBSO Sgt. Jerry Lamm interviewed Hoffman’s family who “confirmed she utilizes the screen name” on her phone and computer. And family members said they were aware of the threats she allegedly made on Facebook.
On the Facebook page for Michael R. Reed, with the URL reading Jill Hoffman, the profile image is that of a colorful Bougainvillea bush. It turns out her son, Adam Linn told investigators that he had “concerns about his mother’s posts because the Bougainvillea bush associated with the profile picture was the bush in front of his residence.”
3. Hoffman as Reed on Facebook Had Previously Posted ‘Aggressive’ & ‘Threatening’ Comments to the PBSO, Documents Show
According to police documents, the comments on the Cigo posts were not the first time Hoffman made aggressive comments and threats on the sheriff’s Facebook page.
The probable cause affidavit in support of Hoffman’s arrest, shows that on a post about an active shooter training, Hoffman posing as Michael R. Reed wrote, “I hope all of you are the first to be shot.”
In a reply to a supportive comment on another Facebook post from the sheriff’s office, Hoffman again posting as Reed is alleged to have written, “…makes me want to spit in all of your faces and rip those badges off your chests.”
In a post from December where a deputy has built a North Pole mailbox, Hoffman is alleged to have written, “How about building your selves coffins and jumping in them. You’re going to need them. “
In another, she allegedly wrote, ”I swear if I see one more story about this on the news or elsewhere you’ll be seeing MY story splashed across every news outlet in the country. I think you know me well enough to know when I am determined to do something it gets done.”
But the denouement for cops was what they say is a threat to commit a mass shooting: “Great venue for a mass shooting. You don’t have the sense you were born with.”
It was this threat that police allege Hoffman made that led to her arrest.
4. Cigo Was Gunned Down in the Line of Duty
According to the PBSO, it was Christmas Eve. the sheriff’s tactical team “received information that two suspects they were looking for on warrants” for attempted first degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm were at a local mall.
“The team developed an operation plan to apprehend the suspects before they entered their vehicle, in the parking lot outside of the mall. All members were in position and the section of the parking lot was guarded by undercover deputies. As the suspects approached the middle of the parking lot the team moved in.”
And while one suspect “complied with the arrest, however, suspect 2, aware he was about to be taken into custody, took off running.”
“K9 Cigo was deployed to stop the suspect. The suspect turned and shot at deputies multiple times striking K9 Cigo. Two deputies returned fire striking the suspect,” police said.
Suspect Giovany Ramos Alvarez was transported to a local hospital and remains in serious condition.
But Cigo, who was transported to a local animal hospital, died.
5. ‘He Was a Good Boy Who Gave His Life For Others’
Thousands of people commented on social media posts, thousands watched the memorial service on Facebook Live. Hundreds attended the service. People including law enforcement from around the nation and indeed, internationally, shared their condolences.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said the dog “did his job and saved those deputies’ lives.”