Police: Man with rifle, bulletproof vest arrested at Springfield, Missouri, Walmart store

Harrison Keegan

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Police say a man was arrested Thursday after he showed up at a Springfield Walmart store with a loaded rifle and a bulletproof vest.

Lt. Mike Lucas with the Springfield Police Department said the incident occurred at about 4:10 p.m. at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on West Republic Road.

Lucas said the man showed up to the business with body armor and military-style clothing and then walked inside carrying a “tactical rifle” and another gun.

As shoppers were panicking and fleeing the store, Lucas said the man was taking video on his phone and making comments to people while pushing a shopping cart.

Lucas said the suspect then walked out of the store, where an off-duty firefighter held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived moments later.

The suspect, a 20-year-old white man, was arrested, but Lucas said police are still working to determine his motives and whether he intended to shoot anyone.

Lucas said the man had more than 100 rounds of ammo.

“His intent obviously was to cause chaos here, and he did that,” Lucas said.

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Thursday’s incident comes five days after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people.

Lucas said Springfield police officers arrived on scene 3 minutes after the initial 911 call Thursday. He said the scene was chaotic.

He described the suspect as “pretty stoic” during the initial police contact. He said officers would be interviewing the suspect at the jail on Thursday to try to learn more about his motivations.

“His intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here,” Lucas said. “In fact, he’s lucky he’s alive still, to be honest.”

A fire marshal was called out to the scene Thursday to inspect the suspect’s car, a gray Mazda sedan that was left in the parking lot. Lucas said that was to ensure there were no bombs on the vehicle.

Lucas said police would be reviewing any surveillance video from the store and also checking the suspect’s social media accounts to see if he was live-streaming the events.

Julie Belew of Springfield pulled into a Walmart lot Thursday afternoon and before she could exit she heard someone yell:

This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Walmart store: Armed man arrested Springfield store, police say