WASHINGTON (AP) _ A man was charged in Florida with threatening the life of President Clinton earlier this year.

Ronald Gene Barbour, 39, of Orlando, was being held Friday in the Seminole County jail in Sanford, Fla.

Barbour allegedly ''knowingly and willfully threatened to take the life of, and to inflict bodily harm upon, the President of the United States,'' said the indictment filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The indictment charged Barbour with planning to kill the president between Jan. 10 and Feb. 3.

Barbour apparently never encountered Clinton during that period.

A Washington television station, WUSA-TV, reported Friday that Barbour, an unemployed limousine driver, was in the Washington area from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17. Citing sources it did not identify, the station said Barbour planned to shoot the president during one of his morning runs on the Mall.

Clinton was in Europe during that time.

A neighbor who lived in the same Orlando apartment complex as Barbour said she was ''shocked'' by news of his arrest.

''He had mentioned what he had planned to do ... he had said that he had been so severely depressed that he had even considered killing the president,'' Janet Wilson told WESH-TV in Orlando. ''I had asked him what it would benefit him, and he said that at least it would get him attention.'

The Secret Service declined to comment. But Ginny Terzano, a deputy White House press secretary, confirmed the report, saying, ''A man was arrested; I have no idea what for or if he was armed.''

Barbour stayed at the Mount Vee Motel in Fairfax County, Va., a woman answering the phone there confirmed.

WUSA-TV reported that Florida police recovered a handgun and that Barbour was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

In a recent lecture on evaluating threats to the president, a Secret Service psychologist described a case with details strikingly similar to reports of the Barbour case.

''The subject went to the Mall every day for six days waiting to shoot the president,'' said Margaret Coggins. ''Fortunately, the president was overseas at the time.'' Her remarks were reported in the St. Petersburg Times on Feb. 10.