FBI: Truck driver threatened mass shooting at Memphis church

A truck driver has been arrested after saying he would commit a mass shooting at a church in Memphis, Tennessee, authorities say in newly filed court records.

Thomas Matthew McVicker was apprehended in Indianapolis before the plan could be carried out, according to court papers filed Monday. It's the most recent case in a string of men being arrested around the country for threatening to carry out shootings.

McVicker, 38, made "credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide" planned for Thursday, an FBI special agent said in a sworn affidavit.

The circumstances of his arrest in Indiana weren't outlined in the affidavit.

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El Paso shooting: Community, family, friends mourn the victims
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El Paso shooting: Community, family, friends mourn the victims
Mariana Cordero cries as she visits a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man hangs up an "El Paso Strong" sign at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leans over to write a message on a cross at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman is reflected in a picture as she looks at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. Saturday's mass shooting at the Walmart left multiple people dead and more than two dozen others injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
En esta imagen tomada de un video en abril de 2019, migrantes se entregan a agentes fronterizos en El Paso, Texas, después de cruzar hacia territorio estadounidense desde México. (AP Foto/Cedar Attanasio)
Flags fly over crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces se arrodilla el martes 6 de agosto de 2019 en un memorial ubicado cerca de la escena de un tiroteo en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas. (AP Foto/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A list of the people who died in the weekend shooting rampage at the Walmart, shows that most of the victims had Latino surnames and included one German national. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leaves flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces kneels in front of crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex over the weekend, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Angie Attaguile rests her head on her husband, Ray Attaguile's shoulder as they embrace their children during a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Personas visitan un altar improvisado el lunes 5 de agosto de 2019, en el lugar de una masacre en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas. (AP Foto/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The team visited to hang a banner that reads "El Paso Strong." (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso huddle around, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, as they visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Christina Pipkin cries as she visits a makeshift memorial, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the site of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. "It's hard to see it, it's heartbreaking," said Pipkin about visiting the memorial. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Mayte Santiesteban visits a cross dedicated to her best friend's aunt, who was killed in the weekend shooting, at a makeshift memorial at the site of the mass shooting at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Daphne Rosas, a former sixth grade student of teacher Elsa Mendoza de la Mora, one of the victims of the shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, shows her class photo with Mendoza in the center, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. Mexico’s government said it considers the shooting that left eight of its citizens dead an “act of terrorism” against Mexicans and hopes it will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
Personas oran frente a un altar improvisado en honor a las víctimas de una masacre en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas, el lunes 5 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/John Locher)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Maylin Reyes, right, and Isela Reyes prepare to hang a Mexican flag at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar y Jackie Flores rezan en un memorial para las víctimas de un tiroteo en El Paso, Texas, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Andres Leighton)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People comfort each other during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Cathe Hill wipes tears from her eyes during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. "There's no such thing as a stranger here in El Paso," said Hill about the impact the shooting had on the community. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Children of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Unas flores y una imagen de la Virgen de Guadalupe adornan un monumento conmemorativo improvisado en honor de las víctimas de un tiroteo en un centro comercial en El Paso, Texas, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019. El letrero dice: "El Paso es una familia. Permanecemos unidos". (AP Foto/Andrés Leighton)
A man leaves flowers near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Someone left a couple of signs outside Del Sol Medical Center after a mass shooting occurred at Walmart early Saturday in El Paso, TX on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Carmen Roldan brings some flowers to honor the memory of the victims of the mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Jessica Luna hugs her son Julien Lucero, 6, while both of them cry during a vigil at Ponder Park in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Family members hug to each other outside the family reunification center at MacArthur Elementary-Intermediate School in El Paso, Texas on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Amanda Beltran holds her cell phone flashlights up as she wipes her tears away during a vigil Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, at Ponder Park in honor of the victims of the mass shooting that occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
People march in silence holding sunflowers and sings in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Satuday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
CORRECTS NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED TO MORE THAN 20 - Muralist Manuel Oliver, whose son was killed in the Parkland Florida shooting, at center in red, is flanked by his wife and daughter, left, in black, and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, right in blue, during an unveiling ceremony for Oliver's mural, in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. The mural, which advocates for humane treatment of immigrants, became a memorial after more than 20 people were killed on Saturday in an attack that officials are investigating as a hate crime. O'Rourke is holding a sunflower as a symbolic gesture to Oliver's son, who is said to have carried sunflowers the day he died. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks next to his wife Amy Hoover Sanders and Rep. Veronica Escobar Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, during a silent march holding sunflowers in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Houston Astros players bow their heads during a moment of silence in remembrance of the the mass shooting victims in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio before a baseball game Sunday, August 4, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Three-year-old Andrew Malagon observes a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Employees of Walmart cry as they attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting who were killed at the store inside a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A Virgin Mary painting, flags and flowers adorn a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Clockwise from left, Gabriela Lopez and her husband Roberto Lopez comfort their children Santi Lopez and Max Lopez during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People raise their arms in the air during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Lupe Lopez holds a picture of a victim during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People pray during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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Earlier this month, a friend of McVicker in the south Alabama town of Fairhope told a Florida FBI officer that McVicker has been considering "shooting a church up" or killing people on the street.

Later, in a telephone call, the friend said McVicker told her the church shooting would happen when he was in Memphis on Thursday and that he "intended to take his knife and slit the pastor's throat."

His mother told the FBI he owned a Ruger P90 handgun and sometimes uses cocaine and methamphetamine. She also said her son is being treated for schizophrenia. McVicker told his Alabama friend "evil entities entered his body and are torturing him," the affidavit states.

The friend asked McVicker why he wanted to kill innocent people, and he said "they put spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night," the FBI agent wrote. "I've only seen them a couple of times but they take form and I can feel them crawling on me and under me," the affidavit states.

The FBI says it confirmed with McVicker's employer that he requested leave time Thursday and that he indicated in the request that he would spend the leave time in Memphis, the affidavit states.

The affidavit doesn't specify a motive, nor does it identify a specific Memphis church. McVicker's friend did not learn of an exact location from the phone call. However, "McVicker insisted that 'something' would happen when he was in Memphis," the affidavit states.

The Memphis Police Department was notified of the threat, which did not mention a specific church, police spokesman Louis Brownlee said Tuesday. Memphis police work regularly with state and federal authorities on these types of threats "to stay ahead of the curve," Brownlee said.

Earle Fisher, pastor at Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, said he would be reaching out to his congregation to tell them about the threat and inform them that the church has security measures in place.

"It's tragic that we are in a climate that even in your house of worship, in what is supposed to be a sacred and safe space, you have to take up measures that might include making sure that you have armed security in your sanctuary to make sure that your parishioners are safe," Fisher said.

Court records in Alabama show McVicker received a ticket for driving a truck in an improper lane in Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, in June 2014. He was working for Swift Transportation of Gary, Indiana, at the time, records show. McVicker failed to pay the fine until 13 months later, after his driver's license was suspended, records show.

Court records list McVicker's address as Punta Gorda, Florida, but his Alabama friend told the FBI that McVicker lives in his semi. The records don't list a lawyer who could be reached for comment on McVicker's behalf.

___

Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee contributed to this report.

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