SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A chaotic scene broke out in a Missouri Walmart on Thursday when police say a man showed up to the store on wearing body armor and holding a rifle.
Police say that the heroic actions of an off-duty firefighter at the scene may have saved countless lives.
Lt. Mike Lucas with the Springfield Police Department said the incident occurred at about 4:10 p.m. at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 3150 W. Republic Road.
ABC 9 News reported that the suspect who showed up to the Walmart was allegedly carrying a ‘tactical rifle’ and over 100 rounds of ammunition as he entered the store, sending panicked shoppers fleeing for their lives.
Instead of opening fire, the suspect reportedly walked through a portion of the store brandishing the firearm and taking video on his cellphone of terrified shoppers as they ran from him. Police are trying to determine if he was streaming the event live to any social media channels.
As the armed suspect exited the Walmart a few minutes later, he found himself face to face with the barrel of another weapon.
Enter: a good guy with a gun.
An off-duty firefighter reportedly saw the suspect geared up in military clothing and immediately sprung into action, drawing his personal sidearm and holding the suspect at gunpoint.
The suspect never even fired off one shot.
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BREAKING NOW: Armed Firefighter Holds Man at Gunpoint Carrying 100 Rounds of Ammo at Missouri Walmart…
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU ARE THANKFUL THIS FIREFIGHTER HAD A GUN..👈🏻https://t.co/8QuzWE4Jug
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) August 9, 2019
Police swarmed the scene just three minutes after receiving the first 911 call. They said upon arrival, the situation was chaotic. Lt. Lucas praised the firefighter for stepping in when he did.
“Thankfully, there weren’t any shots fired. I think it’s great that that off-duty fireman was here,” Lucas said.
Now police are trying to figure out the motive behind the frightening encounter.
With the recent spark of public mass shootings in the last two weeks, America is on high-alert. When the unnamed suspect showed up to the busy Walmart wearing tactical gear and armed with an ‘assault-style rifle’, chaos erupted, police said.
5 days after 22 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, a man walked into a Missouri Walmart with a loaded rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition. He was detained by an armed off-duty firefighter and arrested by the police. https://t.co/WpdBOD3qJY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 9, 2019
Authorities are attempting to determine whether or not the shooter intended on firing, since he did not fire a single shot upon entering the crowded public area. Police say he definitely achieved one goal: causing an outright panic.
“His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that,” Lt. Lucas said.
Police have identified the suspect as a 20-year-old white male, but have not released his name. They say that due to the severity of the situation he put himself in, he’s lucky that he was taken alive.
“His intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here,” Lucas said. “In fact, he’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest.”
A video taken by a witness at the scene shows the moments that police take the armed suspect into custody.
A fire marshal was called out to the scene to inspect the suspect’s car to ensure that there were no explosives rigged to it. Authorities say it was clean.
Police arrested the man and took him to the station for questioning on Thursday afternoon. It’s unclear what charges the suspect will face for his crimes.
The scare comes just five days after a shooting in an El Paso Walmart left 22 people dead.