‘You loot, we shoot’: Gov. DeSantis stresses law and order in Ian-ravaged communities
Image via Twitter.

Ron DeSantis Carmine Marceno Fort Myers Matlacha
‘I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.’

As Florida recovers from Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a moral plea against looting that appears to have some firepower behind it.

Speaking near Fort Myers in the leveled community of Matlacha on Friday, the Republican Governor relayed one sight he saw in Punta Gorda in neighboring Charlotte County the day prior.

“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘you loot, we shoot,'” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”

The Governor also commented on the grit and resilience of the community and called for “all hands on deck” regarding the rule of law. However, his dispatch was choppy, making the overall statement unclear.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said he had spoken at length to Attorney General Ashley Moody, who was also on the scene.

“We are not going to tolerate — and I mean zero tolerance — when we say anyone that thinks they’re going to thrive on the residents of this county or state when we just took a horrific hit, I can guarantee you that is not going to happen,” Marceno said.

Later in St. Augustine, DeSantis said he told Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie that the state could provide support in the event of people bringing boats to try to “ransack” homes on islands that have been isolated from the mainland.

“I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home,” DeSantis said. “I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.”

Also on Friday, Moody took to Twitter to share a video of people reportedly arrested for looting in Fort Myers Beach.

“Florida will not tolerate looters taking advantage of (Hurricane Ian) to prey on vulnerable Floridians. They will be arrested and I have asked state attorneys to seek the longest pretrial detention possible to keep them locked up so they cannot commit new crimes,” she tweeted.

DeSantis has frequently touted Florida as a “law-and-order” state, particularly in appearances alongside Florida Sheriffs. The saying often carries a political connotation, but for residents whose homes and communities have been devastated, it is likely a comforting message.

However, the phrase reportedly left on the boarded-up business evokes the “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” saying, popularized by the late Miami Police Chief Walter Headley. That phrase arose during a spree of violent crime during the 1967 holiday season and again during the 1968 Miami riot, periods of unrest during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“You loot, we shoot,” isn’t even new in the hurricane context, used when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But others see the phrase as stoking violence and division.

As early as Wednesday, the day Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, looting had already been reported in Fort Myers. An evening curfew was ordered in Lee County that day.

About 85% of Lee County customers are without power, according to statistics released from the Florida Public Service Commission at noon. That, in part, has required delivering messages to the community in person.

Law enforcement has community response units on the ground to deliver water, information and security.

“Most importantly, safety and security as always,” Marceno said. “I guarantee you, we will be out here in full force, and any person that makes that horrific error that thinks they’re going to do something to one of my residents in my county, I guarantee you it’ll be swift incarceration immediately with no tolerance.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


54 comments

  • PeterH

    September 30, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Predictably, looting may become a problem. People are homeless, jobless and exhausted. Many have no financial resources to leave Florida. Emergency housing in Florida has been scarce for years.

    • BWH

      October 9, 2022 at 9:20 pm

      Please tell us where your house is so we can come over and carry off your belongings when you are not there. We know you won’t mind since we want to give it to the more needy.

  • Elliott Offen

    September 30, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    If the police shoot people they’ll be sued…and if someone is killed they’ll be murder charges. Police don’t listen to far right mad man DeSantis lest your life be ruined. You will be thrown under the bus. Just look at J6 idiots.

    • Impeach Biden

      September 30, 2022 at 4:26 pm

      Um Elliot or whatever your name is, it appears most if not all the police unions support the re-election of Governor DeSantis. DeSantis supports them. He isn’t one of the knucklehead defund idiots on your side of the aisle. Remember the burning, looting, destroying police hdq’s, destroying police cars. Those were your people not ours.

      • Elliott Offen

        September 30, 2022 at 4:48 pm

        Well that’s great and all but if someone dies because they were shot in cold blood over a pair of shoes then the DOJ will get involved if that officer isn’t arrested. All the nazi Charles Bronson, Dirty Harry stuff doesn’t fly I hate to tell you. By all means be the first idiot to try.

        • Tom

          October 1, 2022 at 8:40 am

          Dems own the looting, violence.
          All the polls show it, people know who has espoused it. Harris has bailed out looters and criminals, fact. Dems can’t run from it now. It’s a staple.

          Corsin and Elliot have regularly espoused physical violence. They’ve threatened it repeatedly. You own it you two degenerate Soros, China bots!

      • Think before you Quack

        October 3, 2022 at 6:12 pm

        I think u might b right they should have done that when people were braking into our beautiful capital also.

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:14 pm

        Yaaaaaa l wish more people would read the constitution and all the amendments. And then look up what they mean .

    • Jerry

      September 30, 2022 at 11:07 pm

      Homeowners have rights to self-defense. A homeowner in Florida has a right to protect themselves and their property. They have no duty to retreat. Florida law says if an intruder breaks into a property, it is considered an intent to commit a criminal offense against the property owner. And that owner or occupant can reasonably presume a threat to life or well-being. Now if someone intrudes on to the property and you shoot them in the back as they retreat, that gets more dicey. But in general if someone breaks into your house, there is a reasonable assumption that your life is in danger.

      And the US Supreme Court has said that Americans have a constitutional right to protect themselves in their own home.

      • James Madison

        October 1, 2022 at 10:08 am

        Wrong. I invite you to take your own advice though.

        • Dan

          October 1, 2022 at 11:33 am

          Florida Sheriffs have said for homeowners to shoot looters…
          https://wsvn.com/news/local/florida-sheriff-recommends-homeowners-shoot-looters-if-they-break-into-their-homes/

          Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno also said they will hunt down looters.

          The Governor says “you loot, we shoot.” And there are now pictures on social media of people putting signs on their properties in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte warning that looters will be shot.

          And no, the DOJ has no jurisdiction unless they can prove race was the motivating factor, or involved federal property. Otherwise the courts consider it a state issue.

          But how about this grand idea…just don’t steal people’s stuff! Easy.

          • Tjb

            October 1, 2022 at 7:16 pm

            DeSantis’s rhetoric is dangerous and unacceptable. This is not the voice of a leader.

      • Tjb

        October 1, 2022 at 1:50 pm

        So the Capitol Police protecting the home of democracy on Jan 6 could have shot and killed more of the looters attacking the Capitol on Jan 6. Both the Republican and Democratic Representatives feared for their lives.

    • Eaglesnester

      October 1, 2022 at 9:58 am

      you are an idiot incapable of critical thinking. This is basically what is wrong with America today too many idiots not capable of critical thinking and a lot of them are in office.

    • Mary

      October 3, 2022 at 9:20 pm

      Uh, so looters get a free pass?
      Don’t break the law and you won’t have any problems! When did crime become ok in this country, I mean, before 2021.

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:02 pm

        No one gets a free pass if u steel lie brake things or steel things l don’t care if u r from Mars No one gets a free ride from prosecution. But everyone has the right for attorney. Police r here to provide safety for all . But even they r not above the law

  • Impeach Biden

    September 30, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    We all know who the looters are. Look at the Democrats that looted that Wawa store in Philadelphia this week. Remember the Democrats looting New Orleans after Katrina? If given the chance the Democrats will be on their way to Ft Meyers as well. You Dems have been warned.

    • Charlie Crist

      September 30, 2022 at 4:44 pm

      Good point. Trump and Trump terrorists tried to loot the 2020 election…now seditious conspiracy cases and zeroing in on Trump crime spree.

      • Paul Passarelli

        September 30, 2022 at 4:51 pm

        What I find amusing about this troll/fake’s statement is that in order “…to loot the 2020 election…” one must admit that the 2020 election was a disaster.

        Go away @Charlie Crist, go away, go play in traffic. Take your fake alias and go find a place where your ideas are welcome.

        • Jay Smif

          September 30, 2022 at 5:08 pm

          The 2020 election was the most secure election in American history, as certified by traitor Fat Hitler’s own handpicked team, princess. Joe Biden beat the living shite out of your cult leader fair and square in a landslide victory, and you conservative fairies are still squealing like stuck pigs about it every day. Screw your whining and lies; pudgy fascist Ron DeSantis is the biggest threat American faces today.

          • Mary

            October 3, 2022 at 9:27 pm

            And he is going to be one hell of a President!
            The biggest threats are already in office.

        • Charlie Crist

          September 30, 2022 at 8:21 pm

          “To loot the 2020 election… one must admit that the 2020 election was a disaster.”

          No.. Trump and his supporters tried to make a free and fair election a disaster. Try making some sense next time…

        • Mary

          October 3, 2022 at 9:29 pm

          Didn’t Joe say a couple weeks ago, that reform is needed so an election can ever be stolen again…

      • Mary

        October 3, 2022 at 9:24 pm

        I hope you are the real Charlie Crist!!!
        Unless you call in a lot of favors, you will not be governor again, no matter what political party you pick.
        And it won’t be just Trump supporters, people are tired of what your buddy has done to this country. Can’t wait until the November election.

        • Quackery

          October 3, 2022 at 10:36 pm

          Me too lady just like the new Ford commercial. While all u smarties r looking for a place in space Ford is going to build great products for us on this beautiful planet again But this time there not going to build crap. No more deregulation on our products in the great USA We r going for great American made product not Amercan crap products

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:05 pm

        Yaaaaaa l wish more people would read the constitution and all the amendments. And then look up what they mean .

    • ScienceBLVR

      September 30, 2022 at 8:24 pm

      Looters are Democrats? Really? I think it’s much more likely the average looter is not even a registered voter! You sure paint people with a pretty broad brush. Looters are opportunists, not political activists.

      • Lori Lightfoot

        September 30, 2022 at 8:47 pm

        Opportunistic Democrats 😀

      • smanty

        October 1, 2022 at 9:51 pm

        You got that right!

      • Mary

        October 3, 2022 at 9:33 pm

        Hmm so are you a follower of Kamala? She wants equity more than equality. I hope those thugs aren’t voters with illegal guns.

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:08 pm

        No they r just thieves No more no less

    • Tjb

      October 1, 2022 at 8:00 am

      Impeach
      How many Floridians attacked the Capitol on Jan 6? I bet they were not Democrats? Were you at the Capitol on Jan 6 attacking the Capitol Police?

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:38 pm

        U go Tjb

      • Paul Passarelli

        October 4, 2022 at 1:42 pm

        None. The premise of the statement is flawed.
        The Capitol was not “attacked”.
        The Capitol police were not attacked either.
        #DemocratLiesDebunked
        #NoMoreTrolls
        #FakeAliasFool

    • Quackery

      October 3, 2022 at 10:24 pm

      Omg do u know any history. Or r u just another person that has never read or understand the constitution and its amendment s 🤔

  • Iampamelucy

    September 30, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    Maybe the unions don’t support him but I read 65 of 67 sheriffs DO. I’ll try to find that reference

    • Mary

      October 3, 2022 at 9:36 pm

      That sounds right. I’d rather have the police backing him. A union is not going to protect me if I am in danger…

  • Tom

    September 30, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Tropical 3 ocean breezecane

    • Tom

      September 30, 2022 at 6:58 pm

      Tom legend here.

      Thank God America’s Gov doesn’t take advice from idiot Elliot, nor do the sheriffs.

      Losers Aliases Elliot, Joey corsin, and pathetic peter h are a joke. Elliot and Joey corsin preach violence regularly.

      America’s Gov. the best.

      • Charlie Crist

        September 30, 2022 at 8:22 pm

        👆 Legendary dumbass…

        • Tom

          October 1, 2022 at 8:27 am

          You corsin and Elliot have littered FP with regular threats of violent acts.
          You openly reply with descriptive threats.

          Misbeliever and jay sniffer running for cover from the element of riff raff.
          Dem leaders repeatedly defended the looters, incompetent Harris bailed them out. Spare me the B S lies from the corrupt corsin, Elliot, misbeliever, peter h, sniffer, tjb and others.

          The polls show you own the violence.

  • LaToya Cantrell

    September 30, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I see they are already rounding up Democrats. Keep up the good work and learn by my mistakes allowing my Democrats to run wild.

  • No looty

    October 1, 2022 at 6:45 am

    No one wants to loot your new aquariums Florida

    • Mary

      October 3, 2022 at 9:39 pm

      Were you vacationing in FL? How did you know about new aquariums. Everyone wants to live or vacation in FL. AOC on vacation.
      Pelosi buying a well protected beachfront palace!!!

      • Quackery

        October 3, 2022 at 10:53 pm

        Boy that’s OK for Trump to spend your money on all his attorneys fees bet u could have bought a nice beach front with that money .l hope she buys a nice one . I bet she never said that the white house was a crap whole either but ur buddy Trump said it . Maybe Trump should live where his wife is from. I can see why he could never marry a lady from the USA l don’t no anybody that would take that nasty man on .

  • Tom C

    October 1, 2022 at 10:14 am

    I’m confused by the posters here who are pro-looting.

    • Tom

      October 1, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      They are corrupt bastards.
      Pro socialism anarchists.
      I call them out regularly.
      Pete h, is a hater, Lincoln Org towel boy. Corsin, alias Charlie crisp, and others along with Elliot, who may be corsin as well. Total dush bags, chinese bots. These haters are Soros backed Manchurians, tic toc China bots. The others are just pathetic haters. If you are a DeSantis supporter, Rubio etc , I’d encourage you to stay in touch. Tom FO legend, I get incoming from the haters everywhere. Welcome in.

  • Jerry D

    October 1, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    we know who the majority race that does this s… anyway and if you don’t, your naive…..try me and I’ll take your a.. out, already given the order and it’s my right!

  • Tjb

    October 1, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Governor DeSantis,

    Thank you for you insightful words, “you loot, we shoot”. These are the words of a caring leader for all Floridians.
    Me and the boys will be putting up signs, welcoming looters. With a little bit of luck, them people from the hood and Democratic will be coming to our homes in droves . Thank God that we have the 2nd Amendment to protect our property from these animals. Looks like me and my AR 15 will be voting for you in Nov.

  • Greedy Red Floaters

    October 1, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    You pro-looting losers are despicable idiots. If you and your comrades are sooo thirsty for freebies, go to a blue state any day of the week. If not, sacrifice your worthless lives to a watery grave and good riddance.

    • Concern Citizen

      October 1, 2022 at 5:53 pm

      Did anyone say they were pro-looting?

  • Trumptard

    October 3, 2022 at 11:52 am

    All the tough people threatening to shoot looters – LOL unless they shoot you first. FLORI-DUH!

    • Paul Passarelli

      October 3, 2022 at 12:58 pm

      Looters, by their very actions are demonstrating that they are no better than a pack of wild animals.

      If you see foxes of coyotes raiding your chicken coops or animal pens, you shoot them. You do not posture, you do not hesitate, you shoot. Then you dig a hole and bury the corpses so they don’t stink up the place.

      If your aim is less the ideal and you only wound one, you hope that it runs away and bleeds out far away from the property you were protecting. You do not give the matter another thought.

  • Quackery

    October 3, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    It just like the wild west . Thank u Trump for all the people who now hate each other and making sure everyone has a gun . But remember unfortunately everyone can carry so now it’s even more unsafe. Because u made it that now u have to do research on everything u think is true news just might not be anymore . It’s really sad Nixon didn’t even make us look this crappie or Ollie North or has everyone forgotten all that crap

Comments are closed.


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