LAWRENCEVILLE -- Kevin Lahey's alleged plot to attack the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center -- uncovered earlier this month after a local father and son stopped the Lilburn man's shoplifting attempt -- is concerning but not unique, one official said.
Lahey, 26, was originally arrested on the afternoon of Feb. 9 after a Snellville police sergeant responded to the Walmart on Scenic Highway in Snellville. Lahey had reportedly been spotted wandering the store "dry firing" a pellet rifle before grabbing other items and attempting to conceal them in his jacket and pockets, Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said.
When confronted while trying to leave via the store's garden center, he allegedly ran and resisted. Good Samaritans Mathew and Jerry Anderson helped police subdue and arrest him.
Whitehead said police allegedly found a treasure trove of weapons, including: a handgun, four ammunition magazines, a leather shoulder holster, two magazine holsters and three large knives. He was arrested and charged with a myriad of crimes.
Within a few days, Lahey was tied to an alert from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about a pair of stolen silencers, and his home was searched.
Inside, authorities reportedly found some disturbing material -- writings that have been construed as possible threats to the Gwinnett justice center, which houses, among other things, the county's major courts, board of commissioners, district attorney's office and administrative offices.
"We received some writings that described acts of violence," said Major Kirk Williamson, who oversees the sheriff's department's security at the courthouse. "In the same writings there was reference to some court action in Gwinnett. There were no threats directed at a specific person or a specific location. Though they were vague in nature there were enough facts contained in the writing to cause us concern."
Authorities don't believe the writings were ever communicated to anyone, Williamson said.
Specific information about Lahey's alleged threats was not released, but Williamson said threats on the justice center were not all that out of the ordinary.
"We do have between 15 (and) 20 instances per year that we investigate," he said.
ATF spokesman Richard Coes said a criminal complaint had been filed and the case had already been passed along to the United States Attorney's Office.
Lahey remained in federal custody Friday. Williamson said
"Should Mr. Lahey be granted bond," Williamson said, "we will continue to implement measures to provide a safe environment for everyone involved."
Gwinnett County Detention Center records show Lahey's most recent local arrest was his 14th since 2004. In addition to federal charges, Lahey will face single counts of shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a weapon during a crime and obstruction in Gwinnett.