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Press Release

Texas Man Sentenced for Threatening to Shoot People at McCook Wal-Mart

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Rogelio Salas, Jr., 26, of Weslaco, Texas, was sentenced today by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard to 33 months’ imprisonment for threatening to shoot employees and a specific victim who worked at the McCook, Nebraska Wal-Mart.  After Salas, Jr.’s release from prison, he will begin a three-year term of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

On January 8, 2022, Salas, Jr. indicated he was outside the Wal-Mart with firearms and explosives and stated that he was going to enter the store with the weapons to kill the victim.  Salas, Jr. made multiple threatening calls to the store, and the store evacuated all employees and customers as a result of the threats.  Investigation revealed that Salas, Jr. was, in fact, in the State of Texas at the time that the threatening calls were made to the Nebraska retailer.

Salas, Jr. began a campaign of threatening and harassing the victim that started when the victim refused to play online video games anymore with Salas, Jr. because Salas, Jr. was using homosexual slurs during the video game sessions that offended the victim.  Once the victim stopped playing online games with Salas, Jr., Salas Jr. began to contact the victim on social media and determined the victim’s specific workplace at the McCook area Wal-Mart.  Salas, Jr. pled guilty to transmitting threats in interstate commerce on July 21, 2022.

For this conduct, Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Salas, Jr. to a term of 33 months in federal prison, the longest sentence authorized by Salas, Jr.’s plea of guilty.  Judge Gerrard noted the disturbing frequency of threat cases coming before him recently and issued the sentence in part because of the fear that the defendant caused in all of the individuals at the Wal-Mart store that day and because it was all unnecessarily done over a video game dispute.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

This case was investigated by North Platte FBI and the McCook Police Department.

Updated October 14, 2022

Topics
Domestic Terrorism