A shoplifting suspect fired a gunshot Tuesday evening during a foot chase through a Wal-Mart store in Missouri.
Employees said the store was crowded with customers when the shot was fired — which then triggered chaos, reported the Springfield News-Leader.
“I was helping a lot of customers, suddenly I’m looking toward the self checkout area and we just hear all the screaming and yelling,” said employee Bryanna Grzyb, who two hours later was still holding the ring box she had been handling when the shot was fired.
“That was probably for about 30 seconds and then all of a sudden, gunshot,” Grzyb said. “Everyone freaks out, then starts running around and the parents are grabbing their children — it was straight up panic.”
Police confirmed that officers were chasing multiple shoplifting suspects when one of them fired a shot.
“A foot chase took place inside the store, and as one of the suspects fled, he fired one round from a handgun,” said Lt. Fred Beck, of Springfield police. “Nobody was injured, nobody was hit, and the suspect fled out the back door.”
Two other suspects were taken into police custody during the incident.
The store was evacuated immediately after the shot was fired about 7:30 p.m., and it remained locked down for at least two hours.
The shooting suspect was described as a white man wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt.
Police shot and killed a white man wearing a stolen Joplin, Missouri, fire department uniform last month outside another Wal-Mart store in Springfield.
Officers said 30-year-old Joseph Tyndall, who had a lengthy criminal record, fired a gun at them during a foot chase in the store’s parking lot.
Police in Ohio shot and killed a black man, 22-year-old John Crawford III, at a Wal-Mart store after another customer reported seeing him carrying a rifle.
The rifle turned out to be a toy he picked up in the store, and surveillance video showed the officers fired immediately upon seeing him.
Neither officer was charged in Crawford’s death.
Watch this video report on the Springfield incident posted online by the News-Leader: