A man from Tupelo, Mississippi has been arrested for bombing a Walmart, (WMT) angered by the retailer’s decision earlier this year to stop selling the Confederate flag.
The man, Marshall Leonard, is a loner known for flying a large Mississippi state flag from his car, and has been jailed and accused of setting off an explosive, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. No one was hurt in the incident.
Police Chief Bart Aguirre told the AP that the device had made a loud noise but did not damage the store when it was thrown on Sunday morning. But the officer also said that bomb experts said the device could have been destructive if it had been put together in a different manner.
In June, soon after the killing of nine African American worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, set off a national debate on the symbolism of the Confederate battle flag, Walmart and other retailers including Amazon.com (AMZN) and Sears (SHLD) stopped selling the flag. The Confederate flag is incorporated in the Mississippi state flag.
“He’s a strong supporter of keeping that flag flying. … This is his way of bringing attention to that,” Aguirre told the AP.
Last week, Leonard had posted threatening messages on the Facebook page of the local newspaper, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, reported.
“Journal corporate, you are on final warning,” he allegedly wrote last week on Facebook. “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!”
Around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Leonard pulled his car up to the Walmart, lit a newspaper-wrapped package and threw it.
“An employee was sitting the vestibule taking a break. He told the employee to run — that he was going to blow the place up,” Aguirre told the Associated Press. “He throws this package into the front entrance of Wal-Mart. He flees and the employee flees.”