William Rud is charged with threatening to throw a destructive device, a second-degree felony.
The following is a news release issued Sept. 5 by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office:
Early this morning the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) responded to a call made from inside the Palm Coast Walmart. The caller, a Walmart employee, stated that a male had entered the store and told three employees that they were standing so close together that if he threw a grenade he could blow them all up, and then began laughing loudly and entered the public restroom.
FCSO immediately arrived on scene and established a perimeter, not allowing any more citizens to enter the shopping center. Deputies made contact with Walmart management to and recommended the store be evacuated; however, Walmart management declined to evacuate the store. Palm Coast Fire Department (PCFD) Engines 22 and 21 responded to the scene and staged at a safe distance. Flagler County Fire Rescue (FCFR) Rescue 21 staged outside of the store also.
While interviewing employees FCSO made contact with a male who matched the description of the suspect. Walmart Loss prevention positively identified William Rudd, 67 and a Palm Coast resident, as the male who made the threats by watching CCTV footage of the incident.
Initially, when questioned about the incident Rudd said that he never made contact with any Walmart employee. Rudd then changed his story and said he only intended his comment as a joke. The FCSO K-9 Unit arrived on scene with its bomb-sniffing dog which detected no traces of explosive material in the areas where Rudd was standing or in the bathroom. The bomb-sniffing dog also searched Rudd’s vehicle with negative results.
“I am proud of the deputies who responded to this call without hesitation and immediately went into the store to apprehend a guy who could have very easily had a bomb. They did everything by the book and turned people away from entering the store without causing a panic,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “We do not take threats lightly in Flagler County. Obviously, Rudd made a very poor decision by threatening the safety of Walmart patrons and employees and he was promptly arrested. If you make a bomb threat you will be arrested and taken to the Green Roof Inn.”
Rudd was arrested and charged with threatening to throw a destructive device, a second-degree felony. He is currently being held at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility under no bond.