Cops: Flag Fanatic Bombed a Walmart

Tupelo, Miss., device didn't do much damage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2015 11:11 PM CST
Updated Nov 3, 2015 12:23 AM CST

(Newser) – A man outraged by attempts to get rid of the Mississippi state flag carried out an extremely short-lived terror campaign in Tupelo, police say. Marshall Leonard, 61, was arrested after a bomb was thrown into a Walmart in the Mississippi city at around 1:30am on Sunday, Tupelo's Daily Journal reports. Police say he got out of his vehicle and told an employee to run before he lit a package and threw it into an entrance, where it went off. "It wasn't a large explosion. It didn't cause a lot of damage," a police spokesman tells the Journal. Bomb technicians say the homemade device did have enough explosive to have caused serious damage if it had been assembled differently, the AP reports. Leonard has been charged with placing an explosive device, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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Leonard—who flew a 4-foot Mississippi flag from his Mazda—was known for his support of the flag and was apparently outraged by Walmart's decision to stop selling it because it contains a Confederate emblem. "Journal corporate, you are on final warning," he wrote on the Journal's Facebook page last week. "You are part of the problem. As a result of this, y'all are going down, along with Walmart, WTVA, [Reed's] department store, and all the rest of the anti-American crooks. I'm not kidding. No messing around anymore!" He was arrested after the bombing when an officer saw his car, with the state flag still flying, run a red light in front of the Walmart. (Ole Miss has removed the state flag from its campus.)

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