Thankfully, more than one hero stepped up to the plate in this Springfield, Missouri Walmart. When a man armed with a rifle and wearing body armor began filming himself stalking around the store, a quick-thinking employee hit the fire alarm to evacuate the building. When the suspect tried to leave out a side exit, an armed citizen held him at gunpoint until police could make the arrest.
Whoever this idiot is, he’s “lucky he’s alive still,” as police commented afterward:
The armed man who walked into a Missouri Walmart store dressed in body armor and fatigues and was detained at gunpoint by an off-duty firefighter is “lucky he’s alive still” considering the situation he created, a police official said. …
The man who is said to be white and in his 20s was detained by the armed firefighter until police arrived at the Walmart Neighborhood Market, police said in a statement. The man in body armor had been seen pushing a shopping cart and recording video of himself on a cellphone, police told NBC affiliate KYTV.
Police were called about a possible active shooter, and the store manager pulled a fire alarm and told people to evacuate, Springfield police Lt. Mike Lucas said.
“He walked in here, heavily armed with body armor on, in military fatigues, and caused a great amount of panic inside the store,” Lucas said about the incident that came days after mass shootings at an El Paso Walmart and an Ohio entertainment district that left more than 30 people dead. “… Obviously, what’s happened in Texas and Dayton and all that kind of stuff in the last seven days — that’s on everybody’s minds.”
Had it not been for the armed man who held the suspect for police, the suspect might have slipped away to find another target for whatever he had planned. What was that, anyway? So far, police say that they’re not sure, but they’re working on it:
At approximately 4:10 p.m. Springfield Police Officers were dispatched to 3150 W. Republic Rd. to a Walmart Neighborhood Market. An armed white male in his twenties was detained by an armed off-duty fireman until officers arrived on scene and took the suspect into custody. No injuries were reported and no shots were fired. At this time, the investigation is on-going and we are working to determine his motives.
CNN’s coverage takes note that an armed citizen detained the suspect, but raises another point. Missouri is an open-carry state; did this man actually commit a crime? Hmmmm:
An armed man in his twenties was arrested after causing a panic at a Missouri Walmart, Springfield police said. But no shots were fired and no one was injured.https://t.co/xp2vdEtZ61 pic.twitter.com/OQx6iCy8rT
— New Day (@NewDay) August 9, 2019
The cell phone might be a very important piece of evidence one way or the other. If he was just Skyping home to get a grocery list, police might not have any reason to detain him. As long as the rifle was slung and the suspect had all of the legal requisites for ownership and open carry, they may not be able to hold him, even if his choices of carry and apparel make the man even more of an idiot. If, on the other hand, he was dictating a manifesto and/or making threatening remarks while being recorded, he’s going to spend a very long time in prison. The remarks by the officer on scene tend to indicate witnesses for threatening behavior, but that’s only one side of the story, at least so far.
This might have a surprising ending, so stay tuned — and still be thankful everyone’s still alive at the end of this incident.