Truck driver arrested after allegedly threatening to commit mass shooting at a Memphis church: FBI
MEMPHIS, T.N. (ABC News) – A truck driver was arrested after he allegedly threatened to shoot up a church in Memphis, kill people on the street, and kill himself, according to a new criminal complaint.
Thomas McVicker, 38, allegedly made “credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide” to a friend, according to the complaint filed last Friday in the Southern District of Alabama.
Of the threats he made, he allegedly said he was going to shoot up a Tennessee church and “take his knife and slit the pastor’s throat.”
McVicker’s alleged comments would be some of the latest in a string of mass shooting threats in recent weeks.
Nearly 1,000 miles away, in Volusia County, Florida, a 15-year-old boy was arrested the same day as McVicker for allegedly making unrelated threats to shoot up his school.
McVicker was arrested in Indianapolis and charged with interstate transmission of threat to injure before he could carry out the plan that was alleged to be planned for Thursday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was first alerted to his alleged threats on Aug. 12, when a friend of McVicker’s contacted officials.
McVicker told the friend, who was not identified, that he had been “thinking about shooting a church up” but was afraid of how it would affect his family, the complaint read.
“So I think I’m just gonna kill some people on the street and get away with it then kill myself,” he said, according to the complaint.
McVicker’s friend said that he was sick and asked why he wanted to kill innocent people, to which McVicker allegedly said, “they put spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night” and that evil “entities” were in his body torturing him.
He allegedly said that the snakes and spiders were trying to kill him, but he was “too strong,” according to the complaint.
The friend urged McVicker to get help, to which he allegedly replied that he had been in a mental hospital three times and was on medication.
Less than a week after that conversation, McVicker allegedly called the friend at around 9:11 p.m. on Aug. 14 and said he was going to “shoot up” a church in Memphis and take a knife and slit the pastor’s throat on Thursday, according to the complaint.
The friend said McVicker sounded erratic and frantic, and could not tell exactly where he was.
The friend contacted the FBI again after that phone call.
Investigators then spoke with McVicker’s employer, who confirmed that he had requested time off from work on Thursday and indicated that he would be in Memphis, according to the complaint.
Investigators also contacted McVicker’s mom who said her son was on medication for schizophrenia and that he owned a Ruger P90 handgun.
McVicker was arrested Friday, Aug. 16, two days after the second phone call, by Indiana State Police and the FBI, Chris Bavender, an FBI spokeswoman in Indianapolis, told ABC News.
He was being held at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Indianapolis, but Bavender said she did not know if he was still being held there.
McVicker is a truck driver who lives in his vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.
ABC News was not immediately able to reach McVicker or his family.
It is unclear if he has an attorney.