By Mary Papenfuss, HuffPost US
Florida police spoke to a man who told a sporting goods clerk in a Port St. Lucie Walmart that he wanted to buy a gun that would “kill 200 people,” authorities said. But he appears to be an “anti-gun activist” trying to pressure Walmart to stop selling guns, according to police.
When asked about the gun, the clerk responded: “That isn’t funny,” according to a police statement.
Following a tip, police said they tracked down Philip Michael Attey, 55. But he told detectives that he is an anti-gun activist, and that he believed his request “helps his cause, which is for Walmart to stop selling firearms,” police said.
Attey later told WPTV: “I’m in a Walmart a few days after El Paso and I’m seeing a white nationalist-looking guy purchase a gun and I got mad.” He admitted his stunt was in “poor taste.”
Authorities do not consider Attey an immediate threat and he was not arrested or charged. An investigation is ongoing. It’s not clear if he will be charged with a crime.
“He got a reaction. He got a lot of people concerned,” police Sgt. Robert Vega told the Treasure Coast News. “He got police involved and we spent many hours trying to track down this individual to determine what his motives were.”
Assistant Police Chief Richard Del Toro told WPTV: “I think we’re in a day and age when you can’t take any comment like that lightly, and we encouraged people to bring anything to our attention.”
Attey was captured on video Wednesday, just four days after 22 people were killed in a mass shooting in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Another mass shooting less than 24 hours later killed nine people in a Dayton bar.
On Thursday, police arrested an armed man in body armor and military-style clothing at a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri.
Police Lt. Mike Lucas told the Springfield News-Leader that the man had a “tactical rifle,” another gun and more than 100 rounds of ammunition on him.
“His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that,” Lucas told the newspaper.
The FBI has warned of possible copycat attacks in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, and has urged the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
Kevin J. Johnston – FreedomReport.ca
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