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Man in custody after shooter scare at Colorado Springs Walmart

November 13, 2017 Updated: November 14, 2017 at 7:15 am
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Photo courtesy KKTV.

Dozens of people were locked inside a Colorado Springs Walmart on Monday night after a man threatened people with what appeared to be a rifle, police said.

The weapon turned out to be an unloaded BB gun, and police later took the man into custody - but not until he had left the Walmart, entered the Chapel Hills Mall and gone into the movie theater there, carrying the BB gun the entire time, officers reported.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, didn't appear to be targeting anyone in particular, police said, but he did appear to be suffering a mental health problem.

"As far as we can tell, he never threatened anybody in particular," said Sgt. Jonathan Sharketti. "He just said to people, you know, 'I'm here to shoot people. This is for ISIS.' Random statements like that.

"I don't know what he wanted to do other than make a scene, since it wasn't a real weapon," Sharketti said.

The incident raised fears among the 30 to 40 customers at the store, coming in the wake of the Nov. 1 slayings of three people at a Thornton Walmart, the Nov. 5 mass shooting that killed 25 people and an unborn child in a church in Texas, and the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people Oct. 1 at an outdoor concert.

Sabrina Grimm said she was inside the Walmart with her husband and 12-year-old son when the gunman walked by her and stared right at her.

"This dude walks by with an assault rifle, looks like, and I thought maybe he bought it or whatever because I know they sell the stuff, and he was so comfortable walking around with it," Grimm said. "He looked crazy as hell, but half of us do."

She said she didn't think it was out of the ordinary until employees started herding customers into the back. That's when she started looking around for her son.

"Employees started trying to make me go to the back, and I was like, 'Not without my kid,'" she said.

After she and her husband found their son, the family was locked in a break room with other customers.

Grimm said she did regret leaving her gun in her car.

"I took mine out of my purse and put it under my seat before I went in Walmart because I'm going in Walmart, you know?" she said. "I thought, 'The one time I don't have my gun.' It was crazy."

Mike Blackmon, a manager at the Colorado Springs Walmart, said the safety of employees and customers was the staff's No. 1 priority.

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