Florida man 'intrigued' by weekend shootings accused of threatening Walmart where mom worked

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Police – Florida man ‘intrigued’ by weekend shootings arrested for threatening Walmart where mother worked

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Florida man who told deputies he was "intrigued" by the weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio was arrested Sunday after he called and threatened to "shoot up" a Walmart in a Tampa suburb, authorities said.

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Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, of Valrico, was charged with one felony count of a false report of using a firearm in a violent manner, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

According to deputies, Padgett called a Walmart Supercenter in Gibsonton at 1:17 p.m., telling an employee he was five minutes away and was going to "shoot up" the store, WFLA reported.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Padgett's mother worked at the Walmart and was working Sunday afternoon, according to WTSP.

The store was evacuated by employees after the threat was called in and deputies were summoned, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The threat came a day after a man opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 22 people and wounding dozens more. Sunday morning, a gunman in body armor killed nine people at a popular entertainment spot in Dayton and was fatally shot by authorities.

Padgett, who is unemployed, was arrested several hours after the incident, the Times reported. Deputies said Padgett had no weapons at his home and does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the newspaper.

"These criminals that seek to make us afraid to go shopping, to the movies, concerts, work and school are nothing but terrorists," Chronister said at a news conference. "This type of behavior will not be tolerated. We will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law."

Deputies said Padgett admitted to making the call and said he was "intrigued by the shootings over the last couple of days," WFLA reported.

Chronister condemned the act, saying copycat incidents would not be tolerated.

“After the events over the last week, we all fear for our safety to begin with," Chronister told reporters. "So to have an individual who for whatever reason wants to be a copycat, or wants to instill fear in people for whatever that motive may be is disturbing.

“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.”

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