Shaun Michael Stroud, 32, of Kiln will spend 15 years in prison for ramming vehicles with a front-end loader in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter on U.S. 49 in Gulfport.
Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt sentenced Stroud after he pleaded guilty this week to aggravated assault, grand larceny and malicious mischief. Stroud also must pay $41,000 in restitution and serve five years on post-release supervision.
Stroud said he thought the world was ending the morning of April 8, when he stole the John Deer front-end loader from Gulf Recycling and drove it to Walmart, where he first rammed into a trailer by the garden center.
Customers and employees fled indoors as he crashed into two occupied vehicles. He hit two more vehicles while Gulfport police were trying to stop him, then drove onto U.S. 49. Stroud then hit a large palm tree in the parking lot of Pat Peck Nissan before his ride ended with a flat front tire.
Police pulled Stroud from the front-end loader and arrested him. He told them he thought zombies were chasing him and the world was about to end.
“This is once again a reminder of how illegal drugs in our community not only impact the person who uses them, but also put property and lives in danger,” District Attorney Joel Smith said in a news release. “Thankfully, the quick response of the Gulfport Police Department limited the damage that morning.”
Assistant District Attorneys Patti Simpson and Mitch Owen served as prosecutors on the case.