Announcement of ‘active shooter’ creates panic in store
A juvenile who allegedly wanted to create a YouTube video created a panic situation at Minden Walmart Monday night and is now facing a felony terrorizing charge.
According to Minden Chief of Police Steve Cropper, the juvenile entered Walmart with a camera and tripod, while his brother, 19-year-old Noah Heidelberg of Dewberry Lane in Minden, waited in the parking lot.
“[The juvenile] somehow makes his way to a telephone in the automotive department that’s got the [Public Address] speaker,” Cropper said. “He gets on the PA speaker and announces there is an active shooter in Walmart.”
Cropper said panic ensued as people tried to exit the store. “The call actually came in as ‘Shots fired at Walmart,’” Cropper said.
After interviewing witnesses, police say no one ever heard a shot go off.
Security video inside Walmart shows the juvenile with the camera and tripod, Cropper said. “[They] caught him on the phone with the PA system making the announcement over the PA.”
Police made contact with the 19-year-old as he was attempting to pick up his brother.
“We arrested the 19-year-old brother for accessory after the fact for terrorizing,” Cropper said. “We arrested the juvenile for terrorizing.”
Cropper said the juvenile is being transferred to Ware Juvenile Detention Center in Coushatta. “He is being charged with a felony,” he said.
The suspects’ cameras and cell phones were seized by police as well.
Cropper said the prank was just “foolish.”
“They we doing it for fun. They were doing to to see the reaction of people and get that reaction on video,” Cropper said. “ I don’t understand what makes people think of these things to do.”
There were also heroes during the panic of the “active shooter” announcement.
Jeannie Hicks-Price relayed her thanks via the Minden Press-Herald Facebook Page.
“Thank you to the two men who hid my daughter and her two toddler girls at Wal-Mart, Minden last night during the time everyone thought there was an active shooter in the building,” she posted.
“You may still remain strangers to me, but I’m forever grateful that one of you immediately placed them between the large boxes of watermelons to shield them and then moments later another younger man, led them into the bakery back room and gave the two year old a cookie, in an attempt to calm her and keep her quiet. Thank you for helping my babies.”