Tehachapi, Calif. (KGET) — Prosecutors have dismissed two felony charges against a man whose “reckless” Facebook posts were seen by some as a threat to shoot up a Walmart in Tehachapi.
The charges were dismissed Monday after an examination of the context of Kevyn Devereaux’s posts to social media, his lack of a criminal record, character references made on his behalf and his earlier use of memes to make points about social issues, according to the District Attorney’s office.
In reviewing all the evidence, there was doubt Devereaux’s posts were intended as a threat, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel said in an email.
“While the posts were insensitive, reckless, and in exceedingly poor taste, there was ultimately insufficient evidence to classify them as criminal with the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required for conviction,” Kinzel said.
The posts on Aug. 11, 2019, came days after a mass shooting at a Walmart in Texas.
One said, “Tehachapi did just get a new shooting range, when I finish Pokemon but realize I have to go shoot people on my local Walmart,” according to a court document filed by Tehachapi police.
Another post showed a boy holding an AR-15 rifle with a scope and 30-round magazine.
Devereaux told police he was “only messing around.”
Police found five guns, ammunition and body armor during a search of Devereaux’s apartment, according to the document.