A man who authorities say pulled a gun on a Florida Walmart shopper and threatened to kill him has been apprehended.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office posted on Twitter on July 14 that they were looking for a person of interest in relation to an assault with a firearm at a Walmart in Royal Palm Beach.
— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) July 15, 2020
“You think you’re big and bad because you pull out a gun? #PalmBeachCounty, we need your help to find this individual #wanted for Assault with a Firearm at a local @Walmart in Royal Palm Beach. He left the store in a white Chevy Equinox,” the Sheriff’s Office said, later updating the post with the news that the man had been identified.
The Sheriff’s Office did not elaborate on the origin of the dispute, but media outlets including CBS and NBC have named the incident a dispute over mask-wearing.
In surveillance video footage, the man can be seen pulling a gun inside a Walmart during a fight over wearing a mask, according to CBS Miami:
“The unmasked man was pushing an older man in a wheelchair Saturday afternoon at the Walmart in Royal Palm Beach. He and another shopper said some words. That other shopper was wearing a mask, and surveillance video shows the unmasked man give him the finger and pull a gun from his waistband,” Katie Johnston with CBS Miami reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Armed Man Threatened to Kill a Fellow Shopper
Maskless shopper pulls gun on masked man at Florida Walmart https://t.co/OEQylxxkzE
— WPXI (@WPXI) July 15, 2020
Sheriff’s officials said the confrontation occurred when an unmasked man pulled a gun on a masked shopper at a Florida Walmart, the Associated Press reported.
Security video shows the man pushing a man in a wheelchair, who was wearing a red neckerchief over his mouth, through the store, the AP reported.
According to the AP, the video shows a masked shopper approach the pair and speak to them, before the unmasked man “gives the shopper the middle finger” and pulls a handgun from his waistband. A young girl attempts to pull the masked man away, and another man tries to intervene.
“The unmasked man made a death threat before leaving the store,” the AP said.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Detectives Are Speaking With the Man in the Video
Police in Florida say a man pulled a gun on a customer at Walmart while pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair.
The encounter happened in front of a child, & apparently happened after an argument over a mask. https://t.co/M7Uowi1Shs
— WTVC NewsChannel 9 (@newschannelnine) July 15, 2020
Palm Beach County Sheriff spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in an email to the Sun Sentinel that the suspect had been identified and is “cooperating with the investigation.”
WSBTV said, “While authorities know the man’s identity, his name has not been disclosed publicly. … The specifics of the confrontation also remain undisclosed.”
When the investigation is complete, the detective will file it with the State Attorney’s Office, ABC News Channel 9 said.
Walmart Is Stepping up to Make Masks Compulsory in Stores
"Guns and Masks" sound like we're living in the wild, wild West Palm Beach…. https://t.co/D6V9tRpcts
— 98ROCK TAMPA BAY🤘🏻 (@98rocktampabay) July 15, 2020
Walmart and Sam’s Club released a statement on their company website on July 15 stating face coverings will be compulsory in stores starting July 20.
Dacona Smith, chief operating officer of Walmart U.S., and Lance de la Rosa, chief operating officer of Sam’s Club, said in the statement the measures were being introduced “as the number of confirmed cases” of COVID-19 had “spiked in communities across the country” and more mandates for face coverings were implemented across the U.S.
Currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings. To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.
According to the CDC, face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance.
New signage and specially trained “health ambassadors” would be instituted to enforce the new requirements, Walmart said.