A Mississippi Man was arrested after allegedly throwing a lit bomb inside of a Walmart. Mashall J. Leonard detonated an explosive in the store but did not cause any injuries or major damage. Leonard is a vocal supporter of the Confederate Flag, and made threats against the chain after they stopped selling the controversial flag.
“A white male got out, lit the package and threw it in the vestibule,” said Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre. “There was an employee on break, and the suspect told him, ‘You better run. The employee did run and was away from harm when the package went off. It wasn’t a large explosion. It didn’t cause a lot of damage to the store.”
Although the bomb did not cause any notable harm, bomb technicians reported that the device had enough explosive material to damage the store, but was assembled incorrectly. If convicted, Leonard could face life in prison.
Leonard threatened Walmart on October 28, when he posted a threat on the Facebook page of the Tupelo Daily Journal, the local newspaper that first published this story.
“Journal corporate, you are on final warning,” posted Leonard on the Daily Journal’s Facebook wall. “You are part of the problem. As a result of this, y’all are going down, along with Walmart, WTVA, Reeds department store, and all the rest of the anti-American crooks. I’m not kidding. No messing around anymore!”
Leonard was arrested less than an hour after the attempted bombing. He was arrested in his Silver Mazda, which he has covered in Confederate Flag stickers. Leonard is known for waving a 4-foot long flag behind his car.
Leonard is a vocal supporter for both the Confederate Battle flag and the Mississippi Flag, which contains the confederate emblem in the upper left corner. Leonard was removed from Mississippi On Guard, a confederate flag advocacy group, after he appeared at a city council meeting draped in the flag. Leonard believes that the flag is not a racist symbol.
Controversy surrounding the Confederate Flag heated up after the racially motivated June 17th killings in Charleston. After protests, several local governments have chosen to stop waving the flag, and major retailers no longer sell merchandise with the flag on it. Walmart stopped selling confederate merchandise in late June, weeks after the shooting.