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Walmart worker's son arrested for threatening to shoot up Hillsborough County store

Posted at 2:24 PM, Aug 04, 2019

GIBSONTON, Fla. — A Walmart in Hillsborough County was evacuated on Sunday after an employee received a threatening phone call, according the sheriff's office.

A spokeswoman for the office says no credible threat was found and the evacuation was done out of an "abundance of caution" in light of recent events.

When the employee answered the phone, an unidentified male voice said he would be at the store in five minutes and was going to "shoot up your store," according to the sheriff's office. The store was immediately evacuated and authorities were on the scene within just a few minutes.

"What I really want to urge, everyone, is that a threat like this is never funny," spokeswoman Amanda Granit said. "Especially today it is not funny at all."

After determining that the threat was not credible, authorities began working to figure out who made the call.

"We take it very seriously and this is a felony," Granit said.

Deputies arrested a 31-year-old man for making the threat and Baker Acted him. The Sheriff's Office said he was facing a charge of false report of using a firearm in a violent manner and that he has not been arrested before.

"He didn't admit to making the threat but admitted to blocking his number, making the call and that he's been intrigued over the shooting, the last couple of the shootings the past couple of days," said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Chronister said they did not recover firearms in the man's residence.

"This type of behavior seeks to instill fear in people and it will not be tolerated. These criminals that seek to make us afraid to go shopping, to the movies, concerts, work and school are nothing but terrorist. Your sheriff's office will always call this what it is and will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law. We live in the freest country in the world and after the events over the last few days we all must be mindful of behavior that is out of the ordinary and take action to report it," Chronister said.

The man's mother worked at the Walmart where he called in the threat. The threat came one day after a gunman opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more.

Editor's Note: ABC Action News has decided to not name the suspect.