Florida man sentenced to 24 months for threatening mass shooting


MOBILE — A Florida man, who sent texts to an acquaintance living in Baldwin County about conducting a mass shooting, was sentenced in federal court Friday to 24 months in prison.

According to a release issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced that Thomas Matthew McVicker, 39, of Punta Gorda, Florida, was sentenced in federal court on a charge of interstate transmission of threat to injure. McVicker pled guilty to the charge in April of 2020. 

According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, in August 2019 McVicker sent an acquaintance, who lived in Baldwin County, a series of text messages about conducting a mass shooting.

McVicker wrote “I was thinking about shooting a church up but I’m afraid how it will affect my family in the flesh after I’m gone. So I think I’m just gonna kill some people on the street and get away with it then kill myself.”

Three days later McVicker called that same acquaintance and told her that he was going to “shoot up” a church when he was in Memphis on Aug. 22. FBI agents were able to confirm with McVicker’s employer that he was scheduled to be in Memphis on Aug. 22.

McVicker’s employer provided the FBI with his location, and McVicker was arrested without incident. At the time of his arrest, McVicker was in possession of a Ruger 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, five 9 mm magazines (one loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition), one magazine assist loader, and two full boxes of 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

During a police interview, McVicker admitted to making the threats but denied his intent to follow through. McVicker admitted to authorities that he has a history of mental health issues.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry Moorer imposed a sentence of 24 months imprisonment. The judge ordered that McVicker undergo mental health treatment while incarcerated and after release. The judge also ordered McVicker to serve a three-year term of supervised release beginning upon his discharge from prison. Moorer ordered that McVicker pay $100 in special assessments. McVicker agreed to forfeit the firearm and ammunition. 

The case was investigated by the FBI offices in Tampa, Florida; Zionsville, Indiana; and Mobile.  It was prosecuted in the U.S. Attorney’s Office by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kacey Chappelear.