A Paris man was hit with terrorism charges after he played what appears to be a COVID-19 prank Thursday morning at a local store.

Tyrin D. McCauley, 24, of 345 Harrison St., Apt. J-7, was arrested about 10:45 a.m. at Walmart by Paris Police Lt. Michael Ramos. He was charged with violation of the terrorism hoax act, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

Officers were called to the store about 10:15 a.m. about a man who was coughing on people and yelling that he had the coronavirus.

Ramos said in his report that when he arrived on the scene, he spoke with store managers, who said customers and employees had informed them of a man inside the store, later identified as McCauley, who was coughing on people and on merchandise.

One employee told officers McCauley had begun coughing very loudly, as if to get attention, when they came in contact with him. After the employee told him he couldn’t do that in the store, McCauley said he had coronavirus. He was told he would have to leave if that was the case and have someone else shop for him.

After one manager located the man and reiterated that he would have to leave the store, he began yelling and cursing, saying he had to get food for his child. Managers tried to calm him down. As he was being escorted out, he threatened one of the managers. Once outside, he continued to curse loudly until officers arrived on the scene.

One manager said he had seen McCauley cough directly onto a Walmart employee while saying he had the coronavirus.

After consultation with Asst. District Attorney Rebecca Griffey, Ramos charged McCauley with the terrorism hoax act.

He was placed in a patrol car and transported to the Henry County jail without incident.

McCauley’s bond was set at $30,000. He is scheduled to appear June 9 in Henry County General Sessions Court.

In an unrelated incident, a Paris man was arrested Thursday for aggravated assault after threats made with a gun.

Edward J. McCloskey, 57, of 3470 Stewart Road was charged with two counts of aggravated assault after he was arrested at 8:22 p.m. Thursday by Henry County Sheriff’s Deputy William Whitaker.

Whitaker reported he had been dispatched to the Henry County Highway Department in regards to a reported aggravated assault.

When he arrived, he spoke to two employees, who said they were parked on Stewart Road in their dump trucks when a man walked up and began cursing at them, and he pulled a gun out and pointed it at them. They said the man, later identified as McCloskey, also had a rifle on his back and was demanding they leave.

McCloskey is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, and is set to appear June 9 in General Sessions Court. His bond was set at $15,000.

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