Rockledge man charged after hoax to 'shoot up' Merritt Island Walmart
Threat comes after two mass shootings in US within 24 hours
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Rockledge man was arrested Tuesday after a hoax phone call threatening to "shoot up" the Merritt Island Walmart Sunday afternoon, according to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
Detectives identified the caller as 41-year-old Richard Seepersad, of the 900 block of Whetstone Place, who detectives said called as a hoax to frighten store employees and customers, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
When interviewed by detectives, Seepersad said he had loaned his phone to a teenager outside of a gas station while he went inside to buy coffee, according to an affidavit.
Seepersad confirmed the call came from his phone number, but denied making the call. He blamed the teen.
Investigators pulled security footage from the gas station. The footage showed neither Seepersad nor a teenager at the gas station in the time frame he suggested, according to the affidavit.
Seepersad allowed detectives to examine his phone. They found Google searches for Walmart stores nearby 1 minute before the threatening call was made, detectives said.
He was charged with making a false report of a shooting and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He is being held at the Brevard County Jail without bond.
The threat came one day after a mass shooting outside of an El Paso Walmart where 22 people were killed in a mass shooting federal investigators are treating as an act of domestic terror and a possible hate crime. The threat also came the same day a man in Dayton, Ohio opened fire and killed 9 people, injuring 27 others.