We either dodged a bullet (both literally and figuratively) yesterday or this story will get chucked into the random, oddball Florida Man category. While the country was reeling from two mass shootings, it turns out that authorities were intervening to prevent what appeared to be a copycat killing spree in the Sunshine State. Law enforcement was alerted to an individual who was allegedly on his way to conduct his own mass shooting at a Walmart, similar to the attack in El Paso. Or was he? (NY Post)
A Florida man was arrested Sunday for threatening to “shoot up” his local Walmart — later telling cops he was “intrigued” by the El Paso and Dayton massacres.
Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, is accused of targeting a Walmart in Gibsonton, just 10 miles south Tampa.
He allegedly called the store and told an employee he was on his way — and armed.
“He was intrigued with the shootings over the last couple of days,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters at a press conference. “This type of behavior seeks to instill fear in people and it will not be tolerated.”
If you click through to the story in the Post you’ll see a picture of this joker. He kind of fits the profile, being a seriously overweight white guy with a pasty, pale complexion, reminiscent of someone who spends too much time in his mother’s basement playing video games. But was the threat ever real?
First of all, if this clown did have aspirations of being the third mass shooter in two days, he hadn’t put much thought into the plan. He called the store in advance to let them know he was armed and coming over. I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen that sort of move in any previous mass shootings. What did he think was going to happen? Obviously, they immediately began emptying out the store and summoned the cops.
As far as the police go, they aren’t even confirming that the guy had a weapon to carry out the plan. On top of that, his mother works at that Walmart. Was he planning on shooting her? And if so, couldn’t he have just done it at home where there was less risk of lethal police response?
The icing on the cake was the confession, where he told the cops that he was “intrigued” by the other mass shootings. By now, you may be coming to the same conclusion I reached. This guy isn’t playing with a full deck. That doesn’t mean that he can’t still be dangerous, particularly if he has access to firearms in the home, but he clearly seems crazy. Telling the cops that you’re “intrigued” with mass shootings is almost a guaranteed ticket to either jail or the funny farm.
Clearly, the police had to respond to this threat and they stepped up quickly and got the job done. But I’d really like to hear the conversations that were going on at the station after they brought him in. I get the feeling he’s going to be the subject of more than a few jokes while he waits in jail for either a trial or a mental fitness evaluation. Or more likely both.