Records show Florida truck driver accused of plotting Memphis mass shooting previously sought mental help

New look at suspect's mental health history

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - WMC Action News 5 has obtained new details about the man federal authorities said plotted to shoot up a Memphis church this week. Florida truck driver Thomas Matthew McVicker was taken into custody one week ago in Indianapolis.

The sheriff’s office in Charlotte County, Florida documented three different interactions their agency had with McVicker years ago with respect to his mental status. The reports were released to WMC Action News 5 Friday after a public records request.

[3:53 PM] Remer, Jessica

“From the bottom of my heart, he wouldn’t hurt a soul I promise you,” said one of McVicker’s friends to WMC Action News 5 earlier this week.

The Mid-south friend of Thomas Matthew McVicker told us he was stunned to learn McVicker is facing federal charges accused of trying to organize a mass shooting at an unnamed Memphis church this week, even vowing to slit a pastor’s throat. The two served in the military together for several years.

“It’s a shame,” the friend said, “Mental health is something that doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are.”

McVicker’s mother told investigators, in federal court documents released this week, her son suffers from schizophrenia and is medicated, though he claims to be possessed by demons. She said he occasionally does drugs and has possession of a handgun.

In 2013, she called deputies in Charlotte County, Florida. The incident report states she believed her son had been acting weird by putting towels over birdcages and thinking they were demons, as well as following her around and inappropriately touching himself. McVicker told deputies he was fine.

Roughly a year later, deputies got a suspicious person call and found McVicker walking. The deputy wrote he appeared to be having mental issues and voluntarily agreed to go to a crisis services unit to talk to a mental health professional.

One month after that, deputies were once again called to McVicker’s aid. There they found him vowing to kill himself and saying he was looking for a gun. Yet again he was transported to a crisis services center for help.

The reports do not include any information about what occurred after he was dropped off in either case to get mental aid.

No house of worship was specified in Memphis in the threats. But federal law enforcement determined McVicker had requested leave for this week from his employer so he could be in Memphis.

It was a friend of McVicker’s who tipped the FBI to his alleged plans. McVicker remains in federal custody.

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