Truck Driver Who Planned Church Shooting Arrested

Thomas Matthew McVicker, 38, of Punta Gorda, Florida.


Thomas Matthew McVicker, 38, an over the road trucker out of Florida texted a long time friend back on August 9th indicating he planned to shoot up a church in Memphis, Tennessee.


"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," he said in text messages according to an affidavit filed last Friday.  "So I think I'm just gonna kill some people on the street and get away with it then kill myself."


His friend initially asked why he would want to hurt innocent people, to which he responded, "They put spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night," he texted, according to the affidavit. "I've only seen them a couple of times but they take form and I can feel them crawling on me and under me. If one really bites me I could die. They bit me on my throat twice an (sic) almost killed me but I was too strong."


His friend responded by suggesting he seek help, to which he responded, “I’m telling you there won’t be a glorious turnaround for me. I’m going to be gone soon forever.”


On August 12th, that friend called the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Tampa, Florida to report the threats. That very day, the FBI began looking into the threats by speaking with his employer and his mother.  They were able to verify that he had requested August 22nd off, and that his request indicated that he would be spending time in Nashville, Tennessee.

His mother provided further information by saying that her son owned a Ruger P90 and was diagnosed schizophrenic and sometimes "hears voices," and claims to be possessed by demons.  She said that he was taking medication for it, but would also sometimes take cocaine or methamphetamine.


According to CBS Indy, the friend made another call to the FBI office a few days later, after McVicker again brought up his intentions, expounding that "he intended to take his knife and slit the pastor's throat," FBI Special Agent Ketrick Kelley wrote in the affidavit.


By August 16th, investigators felt they had enough evidence to file for an arrest warrant and McVicker was stopped in Indiana by a state trooper and taken into custody.  He appeared in court on Monday and a mental health evaluation has already been ordered for him.


Since his arrest, it has been confirmed that McVicker joined the Navy just out of High School in 1999.  He earned the rank of "hospitalman" and was initially stationed at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois for two months.  After training, he spent time at the Navy Medicine Training Support Center in Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas before being transferred to Camp Pendleton, California in 2000.  He allegedly only spent three months there before being transferred again, this time to a student station in Portsmouth, Virginia where he remained until the end of 2000.  His final assignment, from the end of 2000 through May of 2002 was a naval hospital in Charleston, South Carolina.  The terms of his separation from the Navy were not disclosed.



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