EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A 29-year-old Horizon City man is under arrest after the FBI says he posted threatening messages directed at El Paso area Walmart stores on social media Friday.
Alex Barron, 29, is charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm following the raid at a home in the 14600 block of Hendricks Drive Horizon.
According to the FBI, they received a tip around 8 p.m. Friday, May 8 from a concerned citizen which led to authorities identifying Barron as the person involved.
FBI agents and ATF executed a federal search warrant and arrested Barron at his home. He currently being held without bond at the El Paso County Courthouse and is expected to make his first appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Monday, May 11.
The arrest came hours after a disturbing post appeared on Instagram from a user posting multiple photos of what appeared to be high-powered weapons. In two of the social media posts, the hashtag “#WatchOutWalmartWalmartImComing” was used. The posts were removed hours before the search warrant was executed at the home in Horizon City.
The social media threat was shared to several platforms and was also passed to reporters at KTSM early Friday, who immediately reported the threat to local law enforcement.
“This incident should serve as a reminder that the El Paso FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who
threatens to do harm to others. Anyone who makes a social media post threatening to be a
potential active shooter should expect to be identified and prosecuted,” stated Special Agent in
Charge Luis M. Quesada. “The El Paso FBI, Albuquerque FBI, El Paso Police Department, ATF,
and the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas worked together to rapidly
investigate this threat so we could keep our community safe.”
Community on Edge
The arrest late Friday night came as a shock to some neighbors living bear Barron’s home. Enrique Torres, a Horizon City resident, says he’d seen the threat on Instagram earlier in the day. Just a few hours later, he heard a commotion outside.
“I was like I wonder where this is and then I came out and I was like oh it’s right here I was like that’s really close to my house so I kind of felt weird about it and I was like what if they had actually done this what if someone from my family had actually gone to Walmart and this would have actually happened,” Torres said.
El Paso is still recovering from the trauma of August 3, where a gunman killed 23 people inside the Cielo Vista Walmart within a matter of minutes. While many in El Paso have tried to return to regular shopping habits, the shooting lingers in their mind.
“You still gotta live we still gotta go to the grocery stores to eat. You know August 3rd was a tough deal to overcome but that didn’t stop me from going grocery shopping,” said Aaron Tavizon, a Horizon resident who was shopping at a nearby Walmart Saturday afternoon.
El Paso County Court records show Barron was previously convicted of Manufacture Delivery of a Controlled Substance in 2011.
The FBI says if you believe the safety of others is at risk, they ask the public to immediately contact local police by calling 911 or contact the FBI at (915) 832-5000. They ask the public not to contact law enforcement through Twitter.
(Information from KTSM.com)