Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Man who threatened to shoot up a Florida Walmart on Sunday was 'intrigued' by recent mass shootings

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 10:13 AM

click to enlarge A Gibsonton Walmart was evacuated on Sunday. - PHOTO VIA GOOGLE MAPS
  • Photo via Google Maps
  • A Gibsonton Walmart was evacuated on Sunday.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a Gibsonton Walmart was evacuated on Sunday after someone called and threatened to shoot it up just after 1 p.m. Sheriff's deputies entered the store, checked for people hiding or hidden weapons and decided that there was no immediate danger to the Walmart, which reopened at 3:30 p.m.

Deputies later arrested 31-year-old Valrico man Wayne Lee Padgett, who has been charged with filing a false report of using a firearm in a violent manner. Padgett, who is unemployed, had no firearms at his home, according to officials. He also has no criminal record in Florida, but he is being held in jail on $7,500 bail.

Deputies said that Padgett lives near the store, located at 9205 Gibsonton Dr., and that his mother even works there. In fact, she was working during the time of the call.

The Sheriff’s Office did not say what motivated Padgett to make the threat, but it did arrive on the same weekend when at least 29 people died during two separate incidents at an El Paso, Texas Walmart and an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.

After the arrest, HCSO Sheriff Chad Chronister told media that Padgett admitted to both making the call and being “intrigued with the shootings over the last couple of days.”

The New York Times said that in Ohio, “the gunman wore a mask, body armor and hearing protection, and he possessed a high-capacity magazine capable of holding 100 rounds.” His motive remains unknown. In El Paso, CNN said that authorities believe the shooter — a 21-year-old white male — is also the “author of a racist, anti-Hispanic document detailing motivations for the shooting.”

“To have an individual who for whatever reason wants to be a copycat, or wants to still fear in people for whatever that motive may be is disturbing,” Chronister added.

“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.”

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 8, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation