A man is accused of threatening to “shoot up” a Walmart store in Gibsonton on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 4, following two deadly shootings at Walmart stores in Texas and Mississippi within the past week.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, there was an alleged phone threat at around 1:17 p.m. on Sunday made by a man who said he was going to shoot up the Walmart on Gibsonton Drive, Florida.
Deputies responded within minutes and evacuated the building out of an abundance of caution in light of recent events. They found no one hurt or acting suspiciously, and no hidden weapons were discovered.
The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was identified as 31-year-old Wayne Lee Padgett.
Padgett told police he was “intrigued” by recent shootings and specifically cited the massacre at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Chronister said Padgett’s mother is a Walmart employee.
“These criminals that seek to make us afraid to go shopping, to the movies, concerts, work and school are nothing but terrorists,” Chronister said. “This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law.”
Padgett was arrested Sunday. He is being charged with false report of using a firearm in a violent manner, which is a felony.