By Gerren Keith Gaynor
Published August 05, 2019
Authorities in Florida made an arrest Sunday after a Tampa-area Walmart store received a threat that prompted the evacuation of customers, according to reports.
The suspect, identified as Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, allegedly called and threatened to “shoot up” the Gibsonton store Sunday afternoon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in confirming the arrest.
Padgett's mother is an employee of the store, Sheriff Chad Chronister told Tampa Bay's FOX 13.
Shortly after the 1:17 p.m. call, five patrol deputies arrived at the Walmart, located in the East Tampa area, as shoppers were directed out of the store and into the parking lot, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Deputies checked to make sure no one was hurt and looked for anyone acting suspiciously.
Within an hour, law enforcement determined the threat was not credible and the store was reopened at 3:30 p.m.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said police were able to trace the threatening call hours later to Padgett, whose mother reportedly worked at the Walmart location.
"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."
According to Tampa Bay's FOX 13, Padgett was charged with false report of using a firearm in a violent manner, which is a felony offense.