A Jefferson City man was charged Friday with second-degree making of a terroristic threat after he allegedly shared threatening comments the day before with a fellow employee at the Walmart on the west end of Jefferson City.
A Jefferson City Police Department officer spoke with a witness — identified as "witness 2" — on Thursday at the Walmart at 724 W. Stadium Blvd. in reference to threats made by another employee, Nicholas B. Pratte, 38, according to a probable cause statement from JCPD.
The witness told police she and another supervisor had a meeting with Pratte that morning "regarding his recent drop in productivity."
After that meeting, the witness said she was approached by "witness 1" — another employee — "who advised while stocking shelves, (Pratte) was agitated about the meeting, felt he had been targeted and made a comment about getting a gun and shooting people."
"Walmart management felt the threats made were significant enough that outside security was hired to safeguard the store," according to the police.
When police spoke with the employee who had been stocking shelves with Pratte, he said "during the conversation, (Pratte) stated he could have said a lot of things like 'I could have said I'd come in and shoot everybody.'"
The employee also told police Pratte felt he had been "targeted for his productivity," and the employee "felt (Pratte) does have the capacity to follow through with his statements, especially after (Pratte) had recently made a comment about shooting a school if his daughter got pregnant."
According to the police's probable cause document, Pratte had recently been contacted by JCPD in reference to when "he had made comments synonymous with shooting a school, which caused Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Capital City High School to go on lock down."
Jefferson City School District and local media reported Aug. 30 that those two schools had temporarily been on lock-out that day — "based on the recommendation of the Jefferson City Police Department. This was out of an abundance of caution due to an external threat," according to JC Schools at the time, though there was no more specific information included about the threat.
The employee who had been stocking shelves Thursday with Pratte also told police Pratte "often brags about his firearm collection and has shown several pictures of military-styled rifles in the past."
Pratte told police he had been called into a meeting with his supervisor and witness 2 regarding his recent drop in productivity.
Pratte also said he had been stocking shelves with witness 1 after the meeting. Police said, though, that according to Pratte, the conversation had ended after his coworker asked him if he was being treated "'like the next Walmart shooter.'" He asked the coworker, "'Do I look like the next Walmart shooter?'" and the coworker said no.
The employee who had been stocking with Pratte told police he was afraid Pratte would retaliate against him.
The charge of second-degree making of a terroristic threat is a class E felony. Pratte's bond was set at "no bond," according to online court documents.