First it was an active shooter situation inside a Baton Rouge Walmart, then a shooting that left one person injured near the customer service counter — but ultimately, authorities said, it was just an argument between two store patrons that involved guns drawn but no shots fired.
With the country “on edge” after recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, law enforcement officers swarmed the store amid the panic Tuesday in case the incident turned out to be something far worse, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
Earlier in the day, Gautreaux had said outside the Walmart store on Burbank Drive that a bystander had been wounded near the customer service counter. Hours later, he said investigators determined initial reports of a shooting were likely false, though a panic still ensued as dozens of employees and shoppers ran out of the building.
“Preliminary investigation results gathered are that a shooting incident did not occur,” Gautreaux said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “However the investigation is ongoing. We will update with any further developments from this incident.”
Gautreaux pointed to the recent mass shooting in El Paso, which occurred at a Walmart, and in a Dayton entertainment district during the weekend. He said both Baton Rouge law enforcement and the public reacted with heightened urgency in light of those recent events.
“The national climate regarding these incidents has the nation on edge, and citizens’ anxiety levels are much higher than normal,” the sheriff said in his statement. “We are in a position that we must respond according to our protocols and training to ensure that we are keeping our citizens safe.”
The sheriff had provided a vastly different account of events when he spoke to reporters on the scene hours earlier. He said then that a man who was at the Walmart to buy his child a lunchbox Tuesday morning got caught in the middle of an altercation between two other patrons and was injured in the shooting that resulted.
Gautreaux said on the scene that the two patrons had pulled guns on each other and that one had fired his weapon, striking the bystander. Authorities said the victim was taken to a hospital in a private vehicle, and a spokesperson for Baton Rouge General Medical Center said that the patient was being treated for gunshot wounds.
But Gautreaux walked back that account later, saying that although two men did pull guns in Walmart, the weapons were not fired. The person whom authorities and doctors said was wounded was never shot — but he was injured while fleeing the store in the panicked crowd and hospitalized as a result. The patient was released from the hospital later Tuesday afternoon, according to Baton Rouge General.
The sheriff’s office said dispatchers received a 911 call reporting “two black males in the Walmart on Burbank shooting.”
Audio of the call released Tuesday afternoon contains a woman’s voice saying over: “They’re shooting, ma’am. They’re shooting, they’re shooting, they’re shooting.”
The woman is unable to answer questions from dispatchers about where she is and what’s happening. She’s gasping for air and seems to be running out of the store while speaking with dispatchers. The caller finally states there were two black males shooting but she doesn’t know where inside the store they’re located.
Gautreaux said in his revised account of the incident that “panicked customers were running from the front and rear entrances to the store, and told initial responding deputies that they could hear ‘popping’ sounds that they believed to be gunshots.” He said deputies then went inside the store and did a security sweep, finding no shooting victims.
Ultimately one of the men who pulled a gun was detained and later found to be legally in possession of the firearm, which officials said was drawn in self-defense. He also had a concealed carry permit. The other gunman fled the scene and remains at large, according to the sheriff’s office.
Gautreaux said that, given recent mass shootings nationwide and information authorities received from the 911 call and witnesses exiting the store, law enforcement “responded with what we feel is appropriate.”
Several dozen law enforcement vehicles blocked off the area Tuesday afternoon, closing down both Burbank Drive and Bluebonnet Boulevard for hours. The store was evacuated immediately and remained closed for the rest of the afternoon.
Walmart employees were issued a “code red” signal in the moments after the men drew their guns near the customer service desk, which means an active shooter situation, Walmart department manager Porcha Videau said at the scene. She had joined dozens of other store employees as everyone ran from the store and gathered at a gas station across the street while law enforcement gathered evidence.
One woman had been enjoying her day off when she saw news alerts that her coworkers were being evacuated because of a shooting, so she drove over to provide moral support and make sure they were all safe.
Videau said employees had undergone active shooter training the day Monday, after the attack this past weekend in El Paso that killed 22 and injured more than two dozen others.
“I had just got back from my lunch break when people started yelling ‘code red’ and I just started running. I went into panic mode. We all did — people with kids, babies, just running,” she said. “Even with all the recent shootings, you think it will never happen at your Walmart. But it can happen anywhere.”
7 thoughts on “Sheriff: No gunfire at Baton Rouge Walmart, but argument prompts panic in ‘nation on edge’”
Sheriff: No gunfire at Baton Rouge Walmart, but argument prompts panic in ‘nation on edge’
FEED THE BEAST YOU IGNORANT COONASS!!!!!!!!!!
‘prompts panic in ‘nation on edge’
Exactly as PLANNED. Familiar with MW Cooper’s writings? All coming true
By the way? BOTH my Craigslist’s accounts now have Flagging Bots on them to keep me from posting any ‘inconvenient truths’. Looks like Craigslist, who ‘doesn’t censor’, has joinned the legions in censoring.
I wonder just how long they have until they start coming after these ‘terrorist threat’ websites, like FTTWR?
They’ve been out to get Henry since day one.
I don’t think they care much for me, either, since I was apparently the only other person approached in regards to the (failed) lawsuit attempt.
“First it was an active shooter situation inside a Baton Rouge Walmart, then a shooting that left one person injured near the customer service counter — but ultimately, authorities said, it was just an argument between two store patrons that involved guns drawn but no shots fired.”
I came in somewhere around ‘shooting with one person injured’ on Zerohedge earlier.
Got all het up fer nuthin’, apparently.
KAMALA HARRIS FOR PPEZIDENT!!!!!!!!!
And of course, walmart, who already has a track record of promoting the illusion.