DeSantis activates National Guard amid probe of extremist groups ahead of inauguration

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WSVN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the National Guard in Tallahassee to help state authorities enforce security measures days before the presidential inauguration in the nation’s capital.

DeSantis’ announcement comes as local businesses express concerns about extremist groups being investigated by authorities for reported threats to incite violence at state capitals across the country in the days leading up to Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden’s as the nation’s 46th president.

Rob Bazemore, the owner of Bistro Deli in Tallahassee, said he’s hopeful things will remain as quiet as they have this weekend.

“Hopefully, you know, everything will be OK, and we can just kind of go on like we always do,” he said. “If anything comes up, we’ll have to take it as it comes, but as far as something preemptively, I don’t foresee myself as doing anything special.”

At another restaurant just a block away from Florida’s Capitol, staff are discussing concerns about protests and staying vigilant.

“We’re always worried about it. We don’t want anything to happen to anybody,” said, “so we’ll have our eyes open and our ears open, and we’ll try to pay attention to what’s going on.”

The state Capitol stayed pretty quiet on Saturday, and DeSantis pledged to keep it that way.

“I don’t care why you’re doing it. You’re not doing it here, so if there’s any type of disorder, we will have the reinforcements there,” he said.

In addition to the National Guard and state authorities, officials with local law enforcement said they’re ready to respond if needed. They are currently communicating with other agencies and monitoring the area.

“If there’s something that’s gonna spark us to take some action, I can’t say,” said a Tallahassee Police spokesperson. “Right now, we’re looking at it actively from today until well after the 20th.”

On Friday, federal authorities arrested Tallahassee resident Daniel Baker after he made direct threats in an online post to those expected to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump at the state Capitol.

Baker was recently seen on YouTube printing out flyers that, federal officials said, was a call to arms to like-minded individuals to join him in intimidating pro-Trump demonstrators and holding them at the state Capitol using firearms.

“You know I encourage everybody to take a stand for what you believe in, fight against these neo-Nazis all over the world, fight against ISIS all over the world,” said Baker in the YouTube clip.

Baker, a former U.S. Army soldier, faces several charges, including transmission of a threat to kidnap or injure.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.