Florida

He saw ‘spiritual snakes and spiders.’ The FBI arrested him after church shooting threat

First responders participate in active school shooter drill

Police, firefighters and other first responders in the Upper Florida Keys underwent training in new techniques on how to respond to school shootings. The training consisted on having medics work in tandem with police during active shooter events.
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Police, firefighters and other first responders in the Upper Florida Keys underwent training in new techniques on how to respond to school shootings. The training consisted on having medics work in tandem with police during active shooter events.

A Florida truck driver was arrested after federal agents said he threatened to “shoot up” a Memphis church.

Thomas Matthew McVicker, 38, was arrested Monday in Indianapolis before the plan could be carried out, an FBI agent said. Court documents list the semi driver as living in Punta Gorda, but a friend told agents he lives in his rig. Arrest details were not immediately available.

His arrest comes four days after an affidavit requesting an arrest warrant was filed in the Southern District of Alabama and is the most recent incident across the country of men making shooting threats.

On Friday, a Daytona Beach man was arrested after being accused of sending several text messages that included threats about shooting at large crowds and hoping for large kill counts.

A Winter Park man was also arrested earlier this month after police say he posted a Walmart gun threat on Facebook days after a Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas killed 22 people.

McVicker was wanted for making “clear threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide,” on Thursday, according to a signed court affidavit.

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Earlier this month, one of McVicker’s friends — who lives in Fairhope, Alabama — told an agent from the FBI Tampa office that McVicker was thinking about “shooting a church up” or killing people on the street. He then planned to commit suicide.

The affidavit states McVicker told his friend he was being tortured by evil “entities” inside his body.

When his friend asked why he wanted to kill innocent people, McVicker said, “They put spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night. I’ve only seen them a couple of times but they take form and I can feel them crawling on me and under me,” according to the affidavit.

McVicker’s mom told agents he was being treated for schizophrenia, sometimes used cocaine and methamphetamine, and owned a Ruger P90 handgun.

Last week, his Alabama friend called the FBI again and said McVicker was going to “shoot up” the church while in Memphis on Aug. 22 and that he “intended to take his knife and slit the pastor’s throat.”

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McVicker’s employer confirmed to the FBI that he had requested to take time off on Thursday and that he would be in Memphis, the affidavit states.

The affidavit never discloses what church McVicker planned to target and that his friend never learned the location. The Memphis Police Department told the Associated Press that they were aware of the threat.

As of Tuesday afternoon, court records do not list a lawyer who can be contacted to comment on McVicker’s behalf.

A Florida high school student was arrested on August 16 after he allegedly posted online that he would use his father’s gun to kill people at his school, police said. Video shows officers reading to the suspect the alleged comments

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
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