UPDATED 12:08 p.m., May 2:
The suspect detained by Gillette Police in a back bathroom at Walmart Friday was issued a warning for carrying a large concealed knife that was mistakenly identified as a firearm by a Walmart employee who saw the knife handle above his waistband, according to GPD Sgt. Eric Dearcorn.
No arrests were made and the suspect was subsequently released following the incident, Dearcorn said Saturday morning.
GPD had received a report about the suspect who was allegedly acting erratically at Hobby Lobby prior to walking across the parking lot and entering Walmart Friday afternoon.
UPDATED 4:11 p.m.:
The unidentified suspect, who was detained at Walmart by Gillette Police officers this afternoon, had been acting suspiciously at the checkout counter at Hobby Lobby prior to the incident, according to an eyewitness who contacted County 17 with details about the incident but did not give permission to use his name.
According to the eyewitness, the suspect, who was dressed entirely in black clothing, purchased a large “Bowie” style knife from a clerk at Hobby Lobby. When the clerk reportedly asked the man his age, he reportedly took the knife and left the store.
As the eyewitness was checking out, he heard aggressive yelling and shouting that sounded like it was coming from the back office of the store as the front doors were closed. As he was walking out, however, he saw the suspect taking the knife out of the packaging on the sidewalk north of store as he loudly yelled something about a detention order and “how are you going to like that.”
The eyewitness then watched the suspect change direction and begin walking back across the parking lot toward Papa Murphy’s as he shouted about a “30-06 and 9mm,” before turning around and heading back toward the Hobby Lobby entrance. When he saw the eyewitness watching him, the suspect turned toward the bank near Papa Murphy’s.
The eyewitness, who specified he is a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate, thought the suspect’s behavior was weird and decided to notify the police and imagines others did as well given the bizarre behavior of the suspect.
The suspect then wandered over to Walmart where he was ultimately detained in a back bathroom by GPD officers. It’s not clear what, if anything, the suspect was charged with and more information will be shared as it becomes available.
This account of today’s incident has not yet been verified by the Gillette Police Department.
Breaking (1:50 p.m.): Gillette Police responded to Walmart after a report of armed individual entering the premises, per information reported over police scanner. The suspect was described as a male in a black sweatshirt. He was detained in the layaway bathroom as of 1:50 p.m.
The scene is still fluid. More details will be reported as they become available.