An off-duty firefighter stopped a man with a rifle who was recording himself as he walked into a Walmart, less than a week after mass shootings paralysed the US.
Shoppers were thrown into a panic when they saw the 20-year-old man pushing a trolley around the Springfield, Missouri, store, carrying a tactical rifle, another gun and 100 rounds of ammunition. The manager of the Walmart then pulled the fire alarm, urging people to escape.
Lieutenant Mike Lucas stopped the armed man at gunpoint as he tried to make his way out of the emergency exit, and held him there until police arrived.
As reported by the Mail Online, Lucas said:
His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that… his intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here. In fact, he’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest.
Springfield police officers reportedly arrived three minutes after the initial emergency call was placed. Lucas added that the suspect was ‘pretty stoic’ when police arrived, and that he’d be getting interviewed regarding his motivations on the day. Police will also be reviewing any CCTV footage from the incident and checking the suspect’s social media – to check whether he was live-streaming the events.
A fire marshal was also called to the store to check the suspect’s vehicle to ensure there weren’t any bombs.
Walmart issued a statement saying that the man’s behaviour was ‘concerning’.
As reported by the Mail Online, the statement read:
The behavior of a customer was concerning to those inside our store and out of caution, law enforcement was contacted. They quickly arrived, managed the situation without further incident and no one was injured.
This curbed potential shooting comes less than a week after two mass shootings in the space of 24 hours. In El Paso, Texas, 22 people were killed and 27 others injured when Patrick Crusius opened fire in the local Walmart, in what authorities are describing as an act of ‘domestic terrorism’. Just hours later, Connor Betts killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio,, including his own sister, in another shooting.
Following the events at El Paso, locals have been rushing to gun stores to arm themselves out of fear. There have been 255 mass shootings this year in the US alone.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.