Man arrested after writing 'active shooter' threat in hotel review

Joseph McKinney of Leander, Texas, wasn't happy with his Hilton hotel stay, so he wrote a threatening review online. (Photo: Cocoa Beach Police Department)

A Florida man, dissatisfied with a hotel experience, emailed a menacing review with a threat to go “active shooter style” on the grounds.

Police say Joseph McKinney didn’t enjoy his one-night stay at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel in Florida last week, so he sounded off in an email survey. In the review, McKinney complained about the food quality and claims he had been “threatened” by the hotel cleaning crew.

According to an incident report provided to Yahoo Lifestyle by the Cocoa Beach Police Department, the 40-year-old military veteran from Leander, Texas, wrote, “Try to be decent to other human beings because some of us are heavily armed and mentally ill and are on the verge of snapping and wouldn’t it be a shame if they stapled active shooter style in your hotel!”

McKinney then emailed the Hilton staff, writing, “Whatever reason. Going any further. We both already know what will happen next. You do nothing. F*ck you very much.”

While it was reported that McKinney wrote a threatening review on TripAdvisor, a spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “We have looked into this case and have found no evidence that Joseph McKinney posted a review about Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel on TripAdvisor mentioning an ‘active shooter’ situation. We believe that TripAdvisor has been erroneously covered in relation to this story.”

McKinney did, however, post a one-star hotel review on the travel site, writing, “The bartender was rude, the food was soaked in water, the staff was rude. Room service invaded our room and threatened us. The hotel manager sent a condescending email in response and absolutely nothing was done to resolve this.”

On Sunday, as McKinney and his wife stepped off a cruise ship at Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida, police made an arrest, charging him with written threats to conduct a mass shooting. McKinney was jailed on a $25,000 bail.

In the incident report, McKinney admitted his actions were “dumb” and perceived as threatening. He said he was angry at the hotel’s treatment of his wife, but did not intend to commit a shooting. McKinney said his behavior may be due to missing medications for a mental health condition.

McKinney’s mother Donna Kay McKinney told police that her son was bullied in the military and during his service, “he flipped and threatened to kill someone.” She said stress makes her son “do things he wouldn’t normally do,” but she doubted he even liked guns.

Scott Rosenfeld, Cocoa Beach Police Chief, said, according to Newsweek, "Let this arrest send a message that we have zero tolerance for any threat of mass violence. The safety of our community is paramount, and we, as well as our law enforcement partners, are committed to carrying out that mission."

A Hilton spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “The safety and welfare of our guests and team members is our first priority. Upon learning of the potential threat to our property, we engaged law enforcement immediately. We thank the Cocoa Beach Police Department for their quick response. Since this is an active investigation, we have no further comment regarding this matter and all inquiries should be directed to the CBPD.”

A phone number for McKinney was non-working and he did not respond to an email requesting comment from Yahoo Lifestyle.

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