Springfield, Mo. – Police here say they arrested a man who went into a Walmart store Thursday with a rifle around his neck and wearing body armor and military-style clothes, prompting terrified shoppers to flee. Springfield police tweeted that "an armed individual" was confronted and arrested. No shots were fired.
CBS Springfield affiliate KOLR-TV says Lt. Mike Lucas told reporters police got a call about an active shooter at 4:09 p.m. and arrived within three minutes. According to Lucas, a 20 year old put on body armor in the parking lot, then walked inside with a tactical rifle around his neck and a handgun on his side. He had more than 100 rounds of ammunition, according to The Springfield News-Leader.
The store manager pulled the fire alarm. Panicked shoppers headed for the exits.
The man was taking cellphone video of the chaos as he pushed a shopping cart, then walked out of the store and was confronted by an armed former firefighter who held him at gunpoint until he was joined by police moments later, Lucas said.
The man's "intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business. In fact, he's lucky to be alive to be honest," Lucas said. "His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that."
Lucas said the suspect would be charged but the exact crimes were still to be determined.
Lucas said the store's multiple security cameras will make it easy for investigators to study his behavior. Security video and the man's social media profiles would be reviewed to try to learn the man's motive and whether he intended to shoot anyone, he said. Lucas told KOLR the man may have posted a Facebook live.
"Walmart has hundreds of cameras," Lucas said. "Every footstep he took here is going to chronicle and document his actions."
One shopper who was there remarked to KOLR, "We're being terrorized by our own citizens and it has to stop."
The former firefighter, who wanted his identify kept confidential, told KOLR, "I walked up to the grass and asked him if he was the male inside and he stated, 'yes,' and I drew my weapon and told him to put his hands in the air. "He complied. He was compliant the whole time.
"He was videotaping on his phone, which was kind of odd, but he complied with my request that he keep his hands in the air and he asked me to come up there and take his weapon from him. I told him to keep his hands off of it and keep his hands in the air and when the police arrived that they would take his weapon."
The former firefighter said he hoped that by stepping in, he prevented something horrible from happening. "Hopefully my actions prevented something like El Paso from happening," he said.
The incident occurred five days after the mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, that left 22 people dead.
Springfield is some 165 miles south of Kansas City, Missiouri.