Crime

Man arrested after walking into Missouri Walmart armed with a rifle and wearing body armor

Superstore scare

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri - Police arrested a man who caused a "panic" on Thursday evening after he walked into a Missouri Walmart store armed with an assault rifle, plenty of ammunition and wearing body armor.

The white man in his 20s was stopped by an armed off-duty firefighter until officers responding to a call of an active shooter arrived and took the man into custody, the Springfield Police Department said.

But no shots were fired and no one was injured. Police said the recent spate of mass shootings in public places may have placed customers on heightened alert, leading them to call police reporting an active shooter.

An image taken by a witness outside the store showed the suspect with his arms up in the air and what looks like an assault rifle slung around his neck as he was being arrested.

It’s unclear what the man’s motive was, but police told ABC Springfield affiliate KSPR that the man was pushing a cart and recording himself walking through the store with a cell phone when the manager pulled the fire alarm to notify customers to escape.

"At this time, the investigation is ongoing, and we are working to determine his motives,"  a police statement said.

The man had about 100 rounds of ammunition on him when he entered the store, police said.

"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," said Lt. Mike Lucas. "He certainly had the capability and potential to harm people."

"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 man's name was not released and it was unclear exactly what charges he is facing.

The scare came less than a week after an armed man killed 22 people and injured dozens more at a Walmart in east El Paso.

"Obviously what’s happened in Texas and Dayton, and that kind of stuff in the last seven days, that’s on everybody’s mind," Lucas said.

Police said once there was no longer a threat to the community, the Walmart store reopened.


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