Police in Kerrville, Texas have arrested an apparent white supremacist who they say was planning a mass shooting at a local Walmart.
Coleman Thomas Blevins, 28, was plotting the attack from his home filled with weapons and neo-Nazi paraphernalia, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office says – but they put him in jail before he could carry it out.
“Our investigators did outstanding work in this case, and possibly saved many lives,” Sheriff Larry Leitha said in a statement. “The plot interrupted in this case is unthinkable.”
Over the course of a weeklong operation, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office determined that Mr Blevins had been radicalized by “extremist ideologies” and was preparing to carry out a “mass casualty event”.
On 27 May, the KCSO Special Operations Division intercepted a message from Mr Blevins that “made a specific threat that included Wal-Mart”. Police immediately arrested him.
After the arrest, the officers conducted a search of Mr Blevins’ home, where they found a stockpile of weapons, drugs, and white supremacist literature.
“In that warrant service, firearms, ammunition, electronic evidence, concentrated THC, and radical ideology paraphernalia, including books, flags, and handwritten documents were seized,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
A photo by the police shows the items included a Confederate flag, flags bearing Nazi symbols, and a copy of “The Turner Diaries,” which according to the Anti-Defamation League is a neo-Nazi text.
Mr Blevins was on felony probation at the time of the search, which meant he was not allowed to possess firearms. Police booked him at Kerr County Jail, where he is being held on a $250,000 bond.
In their statement, the Kerrville police thanked the FBI, the US Secret Service, and other law enforcement agencies for their help averting the potential shooting.
“This case reminds us that we need to always be vigilant,” Sheriff Leitha said. “Many think ‘that can’t happen here’, and it was well on the way to happening.”