A Florida man with “strong anti-government beliefs” is accused of killing his Donald Trump-supporting boss following an argument about politics, Orlando’s WESH-TV reports. He then allegedly laid an American flag next to the dead man’s body.
Co-workers of 28-year-old Mason Toney say that he was “proud” and “outspoken” about his anti-government beliefs, which included his belief that the government was, in some way, “out to get” him. The suspect’s boss, William Steven Knight, 28, however, was equally proud and outspoken, only it was about his support for the president.
On Monday morning, according to police, the two construction workers were in the same vehicle, on their way from one job site to the other, when a political argument broke out. The disagreement continued at the site, and eventually, co-workers say, Knight started calling for help. They ran to the scene of the commotion and allegedly found Toney stabbing his boss. When the other men tried to intervene, the suspect purportedly threatened them with the knife as well.
As reported, Toney jumped into his truck and drove off, calling his fellow employees “terrorists” as he sped away.
Meanwhile, on the ground next to Knight was a brand-new American flag. Toney’s co-workers believe he’d brought it to work that day for one reason or another, as he showed up for work with a backpack — something he was not known to do.
OCSO Homicide Unit is searching for Mason Trever Toney (28).
He is wanted for the murder of his employer at a construction site off Turnpike exit 254. He fled the area driving a white Dodge Ram w/ FLTag: LGZX24
He is believed to be armed & DANGEROUS. If you see him call 911 pic.twitter.com/QgsNrjlKQC
— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) January 20, 2020
Knight died at the scene.
Toney was on the run for a few hours, according to Orlando’s WFTV, but was arrested later Monday night without incident. He has been charged with murder and ordered held without bond.
It seems that, despite their worlds-apart political views, the two men had been friends since their childhood. Indeed, Knight had even given Toney his job when he was down on his luck.
“My son goes, ‘Mason needs help,’ so he got him a job,” the victim’s mother, Julia Knight, said.
Knight’s kindness was echoed by his father, William Knight.
“He would give his shirt off his back to anybody, feed anybody,” he said.
As for Toney, Knight’s family said that he had been through some unspecified “difficult times” lately, but they never suspected he could murder someone.
Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, there have been several violent incidents between his supporters and his opponents, mostly on the order of minor fisticuffs. However, there have also been some more extreme incidents, such as that of Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and media figures critical of the president. None of the devices detonated before law enforcement could get to them.