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Socorro woman charged with making Walmart shooting threats; 2nd Borderland arrest in a week

Vanessa Annette Tarango
Socorro PD
Vanessa Annette Tarango, accused of threatening to "shoot up a Walmart."

SOCORRO, Texas -- A Socorro resident was arrested by police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday evening for allegedly making a Walmart shooting threat online.

It was the second such arrest in less than a week.

A magistrate on Thursday ordered Vanessa Annette Tarango held on $20,000 bond on a charge of making a terroristic threat causing fear of imminent serious bodily injury. She was also banned from going anywhere near any Walmart stores.

In addition, authorities said she was also arrested for "an active violation of
a probation warrant held by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office." No further details on the probation violation were provided.

"The person responsible for today's online threat has been taken into custody. FBI, El Paso police and the City of Socorro took action once again to keep our community safe," the FBI had said in a brief statement announcing her arrest on Wednesday night.

While Socorro police on Thursday said Tarango's "posts specifically mentioned committing an act of violence against a Walmart store," authorities declined to discuss more specific details about the threat.

However, sources told ABC-7 Tarango allegedly posted to social media that she thought Walmart shootings were "funny." She also reportedly wrote, in broken English, that "I'm going to be the next one to shoot up Walmart."

Much like last week's arrest of a Horizon City man who is accused of making similar threats, the FBI said public tips led to Wednesday night's arrest.

"We are very thankful to the concerned citizens that reported this to us," the FBI said. And the Bureau also issued a warning to others to think before posting to social media.

"Take a second to think about what you send out. You can find yourself behind bars for up to 5 years for something that wasn't funny. The law enforcement community takes all potential active shooter threats seriously," said the FBI statement.

In the Horizon City case, 29-year-old Alex R. Barron is facing federal weapons charges. He allegedly posted to social media, "Watch out Walmart I'm coming... drop like flys," along with a photo of a weapon.

Federal agents said they found multiple firearms, including a machine gun, at Barron's home. But a search of Tarango’s home at the time of her arrest turned up no weapons, Socorro police said on Thursday.

Authorities have said they take these type of threats especially serious following the Aug. 3, 2019 attack when a shooter opened fire at the Cielo Vista Walmart, killing 23 people. The suspect in that shooting is currently awaiting trial.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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