Florida man threatens to ‘shoot up’ Walmart in Tampa after being ‘intrigued’ by El Paso and Dayton massacres

Monday, August 5, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Zachary Halaschak
August 05, 2019

A Florida man was arrested for threatening to commit a “copycat” shooting at a Walmart the day after a gunman opened fire at a Texas Walmart and killed 20.

Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, allegedly called a Walmart about 10 miles south of Tampa and told an employee that he was minutes away from the store and planned to shoot it up.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said that Padgett was identified, located, and detained within hours of the threat. Chronister said that after Padgett was found, he admitted to calling the store, saying he “was intrigued with the shootings over the last couple of days.”

No firearms were located at Padgett’s home. Pagett, who is unemployed and has no criminal record, is facing a felony count for the call. His mother reportedly works at the same Walmart he threatened but was not on shift at the time of the call.

“This type of behavior seeks to instill fear in people, and it will not be tolerated,” Chronister said.

Chronister also warned people in other communities across the country against making threats following the shootings.

“After the events over the last week, we all fear for our safety to begin with, so to have an individual who for whatever reason wants to be a copycat or wants to still fear in people for whatever that motive may be is disturbing,” he said. “If you make any type of threat, know that your sheriff’s office is going to take it extremely seriously, expend whatever resources in a timely fashion to find that threat.”

The suspect in the Texas shooting reportedly penned a manifesto prior to the massacre expressing his desire to stop the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Soon after the El Paso shooting, another gunman in Dayton, Ohio, opened fire at a bar and restaurant, killing nine and wounding 27 before he was killed by police.

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