DILWORTH, Minn. — Authorities continued to investigate Thursday, Aug. 8, after a 911 caller reported an armed man at the Dilworth Walmart that prompted the store to make all customers and employees leave the building.
About 200 customers and employees had to exit the Walmart after a woman claimed in a 12:19 p.m. emergency call that two men were arguing in a hardware aisle and that one of the men started waving a gun.
Mike Kapel, program director for WDAY, was shopping in the store at the time and said he saw a police officer coming in to speak to Walmart employees.
The officer "had a large, heavy rifle," said Kapel, who says shortly after there was an announcement on the loudspeaker telling customers, “‘Don’t panic but we need to evacuate the store quickly.' "
Kapel says people started running for the doors and appeared frightened.
"People were freaking out — some were screaming," he said.
One customer on the scene said Walmart employees did "a great job" of handling the situation, getting everybody out quickly.
Police said they took the report seriously in light of the recent deadly Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas. Officers responded in full body armor and did a sweep of the store. There was no sign of the reported man, which the caller described as a Hispanic male wearing a white shirt.
Authorities are reviewing surveillance video from the store and trying to reconnect with the woman who called 911.
Police have her phone number but say she has not answered their calls since the incident. Authorities say they are trying to figure out if it was a legitimate call or if it was a prank, saying that while the ping from the call did come from Walmart, they don't know if the caller was inside or outside the store.
Police said they have subpoenaed the woman's phone company to find out her name.
Authorities were still reviewing surveillance video Thursday evening and said they did not spot anyone waving a gun around the time of the call.