Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Falsely Reporting Shooting Threat on Megabus
Memphis, TN – A Texas man has pleaded guilty to falsely reporting a shooting threat to delay the departure of a Megabus. Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the guilty plea today.
According to information presented in court, Kirk Stuart, 35, of Austin, Texas, planned to travel from Memphis to Dallas via Megabus on February 7, 2015. After realizing that he was going to miss the bus’ departure, he strategized a scheme to hinder it from leaving Memphis.
Using a companion’s phone, Stuart called a Memphis 911 operator and falsely advised that he and his brother were at the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) North End bus terminal awaiting theMegabus’ departure. He informed the operator that his brother had a gun and was about to do "something for Allah, a Muslim thing for Allah," implying a shooting was about to take place on the bus.
Stuart provided a false description of his brother to the operator. The Memphis Police Department (MPD) was notified and officers were dispatched to the MATA terminal. On arrival, they discovered that a Megabus had recently left the terminal heading to Dallas. Officers determined the bus was traveling through Arkansas and advised Arkansas State Police (ASP). The Megabus was later located in Little Rock and searched by law enforcement. No one matching the description that Stuart provided to the 911 operator was found on the bus.
Through further investigation into the matter, law enforcement developed Stuart as a suspect of the false report. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents interviewed Stuart in Dallas. He admitted to placing the fake emergency call in an effort to delay the Megabus long enough for he and his girlfriend to make its Dallas departure.
On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, Stuart pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charmiane G. Claxton to one count of willfully and maliciously conveying false information.
Stuart is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 10 a.m.
He faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when sentenced.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hall is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.