Police department credited for thwarting potential mass shooting at Tenn. church

(Photo: WKRN)

CLIFTON, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s new details about a potential mass shooting at a church in a small Tennessee town that police thwarted.

Daniel Toler was arrested Sunday by Clifton police on other charges, following the alleged threat. Inside his car, police found an assault-style shotgun, a bolt-action rifle and an AR-15.

Arthur Armstrong, who is on the security team of Emanual Baptist Church in Heron, Tennessee, told News 2 authorities warned Sunday morning that his congregation was the focus of a shooting threat.

Armstrong said the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said there would be extra deputies at the church service on Sunday if officials weren’t able to apprehend Toler.

A short time later, Clifton police arrested Toler at CoreCivic South Central Correctional Center, where he worked as a correctional officer, according to authorities.

Doug Kibbey, City Manager in Clifton, told News 2 in addition to the weapons, Toler had between 1,000 and 1,500 rounds of ammunition in his possession at the time of his arrest.

“It really could have ended in a very bad way,” Kibbey said.

Armstrong said Toler had attended the church the Wednesday before the threat was made. He said church members have been unnerved following the threat, describing it as an eye opener for his security team who now plan to take a deeper look at security measures.

District Attorney General Brent Cooper said it serves as an example of how officials should respond to these kinds of threats.

“If he actually intended to carry out what he said, then he certainly had all the tools to do it. It’s very likely that a very tragic event was thwarted by the actions of all the law enforcement that were involved,” Cooper said.

Cooper said Toler’s wife first called the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office with the concern, who then reached out to Clifton police after learning he worked there.

(Photo: WKRN)

“They are one of the smallest departments in the state and they were able to accomplish something that the FBI kind of dropped the ball on down in Florida apparently,” he said.

The city manager said they have reason to believe that Toler might carry out that threat when he got off work Sunday night.

Toler was arrested on charges of introduction of contraband into a penal facility and booked into the Wayne County jail.

The sheriff said he has since been transferred for mental evaluation.

The TBI said they are assisting the Clifton Police Department in regards to any potential threats affecting public safety.

At the conclusion of their investigation, the case file will be turned over to the District Attorney General’s office for review in order to determine if any additional charges are warranted.

Toler is scheduled to be in court in Clifton, Tennessee, March 6.