Police question armed man after ‘suspicious’ person call at Mississippi Walmart; police chase down rumors across state

Published 9:36 pm Saturday, August 17, 2019

A man was taken into custody for questioning after police were called to a Mississippi Walmart store Friday regarding the man appearing suspicious.

Petal police responded to the call and made a traffic stop on the man and he was found to be in possession of two weapons along with ammunition.

Police Chief Matthew Hiatt reported that the man was interviewed and released on the scene Friday.

“Additional information was later provided which prompted further investigation,” Hiatt wrote in a social media post. “Petal Police has made contact with the male and he is now in custody to be interviewed.”

Hiatt said despite social media posts to the contrary, no reports of incidents involving an active shooter have been made in the city.

Across the state police were chasing down social media posts alleging pending violence at Walmart stores. Earlier this month two Walmart stores were the location of fatal shootings — one in El Paso, Texas, and one in Southaven, Mississippi.

Those incidents have prompted panic and concerns all across the country, including some locations in Mississippi.

Natchez police officials said after investigating a threatening social media post investigators have not made any arrests and have no knowledge of any actual threats made against the Natchez Walmart.

A social media post that is making the rounds claims the Natchez Police Department has arrested a suspect who allegedly threatened to shoot people at Walmart this weekend.

“That is absolutely not true,” said Walter Armstrong, Natchez chief of police. “We have not gotten any calls about Walmart except for shoplifters, and we have absolutely no knowledge of this.”

The social media post is spreading quickly, and Armstrong said he wants people to know it is not true.

Here is what the social media post said: “I’ve gotten word that Natchez PD have arrested a man who was planning on shooting up Natchez Walmart THIS WEEKEND!! The man has made a statement that he was not planning this attack alone! Natchez PD are currently looking for the other suspect. I do not know how true these statements are, but it’s best not to play around or ignore something so serious especially how corrupt the world is today!! Please stay out of Walmart‼️‼️This is not a joke”

Armstrong said the police department is working to find out where the post originated and asked anyone with any information on the post to contact law enforcement immediately.

Up the river in Vicksburg, the city’s police say a social media post claiming a person threatening gun violence at Walmart is also not true.

The rumor circulating in Vicksburg claims a person that was threatening gun violence at Walmart this weekend had been arrested.

Police officials said they have not made arrests and have no knowledge of alleged threats made against the Vicksburg Walmart.

A statement posted on The Vicksburg Police Department’s Facebook page late Thursday night read, “The Vicksburg Police Department is aware of this message that has been posted on Facebook. This message is not true, the VPD has not arrested anyone in relation to this.”

Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore confirmed the same late Friday morning. The VPD does not know where the posts originated but confirmed they are circulating in areas around the state.

“When someone just posts something like this, it is very hard to determine where it came from,” Moore said.