Reuters, Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via Associated Press
- A knife-wielding man at a Walmart in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia sparked rumors of an active shooter on Monday.
- The suspect, who is now in police custody, grabbed a knife from the sporting goods department, unwrapped it from its packaging, and waved it at Walmart employees, Marietta police officer Chuck McPhilamy told Business Insider.
- He said police are grappling with heightened fears in the wake of two deadly shootings last week at Walmart stores in Texas and Mississippi.
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Chaos erupted at a Georgia Walmart Monday morning after a domestic dispute involving a knife-wielding man sparked rumors of an active shooter.
The suspect, who is now in police custody, never had a gun in his possession, Marietta Police Officer Chuck McPhilamy told Business Insider.
The incident happened at a Walmart store on Cobb Parkway in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta. The store called police at 7:48 a.m. Monday to request help with a "domestic dispute," McPhilamy said.
Minutes later, the suspect grabbed a knife from the sporting goods department, unwrapped it from its packaging, and waved it at Walmart employees who work in loss prevention, he said.
The store initiated an evacuation, and in a "tragic miscommunication," a worker called his mother and reported an active shooter, he said.
The worker’s mother called 911 and rumors of an active shooter at the store spread quickly, causing chaos, he said.
To try and quell the ensuing panic, the Marietta police department issued a statement denying the presence of an active shooter within minutes of apprehending the suspect.
"We have to err on side of caution" after recent shootings at Walmart stores in Texas and Mississippi, McPhilamy said. "We didn’t want people panicking and running out of the store or flocking to the store."
He said police are grappling with heightened fears in the wake of the shootings.
The Marietta police department has assigned an officer to be stationed at the store until 3 p.m. as a precautionary measure to ease the "tension in the air," he said.
"It’s a very different time," McPhilamy said. "I can’t imagine the amount of stress and anxiety workers and shoppers felt on hearing that evacuation announcement going out."
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