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Florida man threatens to shoot up Tampa Bay Walmart store, cops say

Walmart store in Gibsonton, Fla. (Google Maps/Released)

A 31-year-old Hillsborough County man is behind bars after making threats to shoot up a Walmart store in Gibsonton because he was “intrigued,” with the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, authorities say.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne Lee Padgett called the Walmart about 1:17 p.m. on Sunday, telling an employee he was just minutes away and planned to shoot up the store.

“Just hours after a false threat was made at the Walmart in Gibsonton, we’ve arrested Wayne Lee Padgett,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a Facebook post. “He is charged with False Report of Using a Firearm in a Violent Manner.”

“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.”

Twenty people were killed and 22 injured in a shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3. Just hours later, nine people were killed and 27 injured at a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio, after a gunman opened fire.

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“This is no laughing matter,” Chronister said.

Padgett was booked into the Hillsborough County jail and remained in custody on a $7,500 bond as of Monday morning.

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© 2019 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.