Walmart continues to be a crime hot spot.
Walmart crimes continue to be a big problem for police. This month, an active shooter situation at an Arkansas Walmart Supercenter left two officers injured and the shooter dead. “The prayers of the ASP are with the 2 Forrest City officers that were injured this morning in a shooting at Walmart,” state police tweeted.
One of the officers was rushed to the Regional One Medical Center for surgery and the other was treated and released. The injured officers were identified as Lt. Eric Varner and Detective Eugene Watlington. Police Chief Deon Lee said the shooting incident “could have been a whole lot worse.”
Forrest City Mayor Cedric Williams described the “heroism and quick response” of the department, adding at a public conference, “The quick response of our officers saved a lot of lives today.”
A call was reportedly made to authorities from someone inside the Walmart Supercenter on February 10 stating someone inside “was making threats, acting suspicious and talking out of his head.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives indicated on social media that special agents responded to the incident. Scott Pope, a Walmart spokesperson, said the company assisted police in the investigation. Kimani McKnight, an employee at a nearby Dollar Tree store, said she “did not see or hear anything at the Walmart, but the Dollar Tree was put on lockdown.”
“I’m scared,” said Kim Bery, an employee at an auto parts store across the street. She added she “could see a lot of police at the Walmart” and employees appeared to have been evacuated “into the parking lot.”
“All students and staff are safe, and administrators took all appropriate actions. We are praying for the officers injured in the incident and would like to thank the Forrest City Police Department for their rapid response to this emergency situation,” the nearby Forrest City School District wrote on Facebook.
An El Paso, Texas, Walmart shooting that occurred in fall of last year left more than two dozen people dead, proving crimes continue to occur at the well-known retailer. The alleged shooter, accused of engaging in a hate crime, targeted Hispanics at the store.
U.S. Attorney John F. Bash said the indictment was a “significant step toward seeking swift and certain justice for the victims” and was “tremendously important to citizens of the United States and Mexico.” He added, “This attack deeply scarred this community.”
In July, two men were also killed in a shooting at a Mississippi Walmart. They are later identified as managers Anthony Brown, 40, and Brandon Gales, 38. The suspect, Martez Abram, was allegedly a disgruntled former employee. Prosecutor John Champion responded to the event, “He was in the store and had a knife in his belt and showed it to an employee and the employee was concerned and wished to make a report.” This led to Abram’s suspension and subsequent decision to shoot his superiors.
As crimes continue to happen at the retailer, police departments are forced to tie up resources. Tulsa Police sergeant, Robert Rohloff said back in 2016, “There’s nothing funny about Walmart’s impact on public safety. I can’t believe that a multi-billion-dollar corporation isn’t doing more to stop crime. Instead, it offloads the job to the police at taxpayers’ expense. It’s ridiculous. We are talking about the biggest retailer in the world. I may have half my squad there for hours.”