In the few weeks since gunmen killed 31 people in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, more than two dozen individuals have been arrested over threats to commit similar atrocities, according to CNN.
The arrests of at least 27 people follow FBI Director Christopher Wray’s directive earlier this month for the agency to “conduct a new threat assessment in an effort to thwart more mass attacks,” after the back-to-back shootings in Texas and Ohio.
Wray’s instruction was borne of the agency’s concern that more domestic extremists might be inspired by those terrorist attacks and “engage in similar acts of violence,” CNN reported.
The list of would-be shooters include a Florida man who called a local Walmart threatening to shoot up the store; a 13-year-old boy in Weslaco, Texas, who made a threatening post on social media that led to a Walmart being evacuated; a man in Las Vegas who allegedly was planning to attack a synagogue and a gay bar; a woman in Palm Beach County, Florida, who threatened an elementary school shooting; and a Connecticut man in possession weapons and tactical gear who expressed interest on social media in committing a mass shooting.
"After the mass violence we've seen in Florida and across the country, law enforcement officers have a responsibility to investigate and charge those who choose to make these types of threatening statements," the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post, after arresting a 15-year-old who threatened to commit a school shooting.
"I Dalton Barnhart vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum," the boy had written on a video game platform.
He claimed he had only been joking.