Man with loaded gun and ammo walks into Missouri Walmart sparking panic just days after El Paso and Dayton shootings
A man sporting a body armor and strapped with "tactical weapons", including an "assault rifle", was arrested at a Walmart store in Missouri on August 8, just days after a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring several others. Reports state that the Missouri man was carrying 100 rounds of ammunition at the time of his arrest.
The man, described as white and in his 20s, was reportedly dressed in camouflage fatigues when he entered a Springfield, Missouri Walmart and filmed himself pushing a shopping cart through the store as other shoppers inside fled in terror, according to ABC News.
The store manager, after spotting the armed man, pulled the fire alarm to encourage the shoppers and employees inside to escape. As the man stepped out of the store, an off-duty firefighter held the armed man at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
Springfield Police Lieutenant Mike Lucas released a statement, saying: "All we know is the fact that he walked in here heavily armed, with body armor on, and military fatigues on, and caused a great amount of panic inside the store. He certainly had the capability and potential to harm people."
#BREAKING: Photo obtained by @kolr10kozl of the man arrested at a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri today. Police say man had armor & rifle when an armed off-duty firefighter detained him until police arrived. https://t.co/rQqDTM1Mtt pic.twitter.com/yzA9kUlulX— Mitchell McCoy (@MitchellMcCoy) August 9, 2019
"His intent was not to cause comfort or peace to anybody that was in the business here. In fact, he’s lucky to be alive still, to be honest," Lucas added.
The officer confirmed that the man's weapon was loaded at the time he walked into the store. The man involved in the incident has not yet been named. The incident comes just two days after a copycat suspect was arrested by authorities in Florida as he threatened to shoot the Gibsonton Walmart on August 4, just hours after the El Paso massacre.
The Walmart was evacuated after Wayne Lee Padgett, 31, called the store, threatening to shoot up the building. Padgett, a Walmart employee's son, made an "active shooter" threat after allegedly being "intrigued" by the El Paso shooting as he told a Walmart employee that he was five minutes away and was going to shoot up the building. Shortly after Padgett made the call, five deputies rushed to the scene and shoppers were directed out of the building and into the parking lot.