EBRSO says ‘no shooting incident’ at Walmart on Burbank; 1 in custody, 1 wanted

An innocent bystander was injured after two patrons got into an altercation and pulled guns on each other. (Source: WAFB)
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office has released a statement clarifying what was believed to be a shooting incident at the Walmart on Burbank Drive Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The statement reads:

"On today’s date, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call in which the caller stated, ‘there are two black males in the Wal-Mart on Burbank shooting.’ Shortly thereafter, Sheriff’s Deputies arrived to find a very chaotic scene.

Panicked customers were running from the front and rear entrances to the store, and told initial responding Deputies that they could hear ‘popping’ sounds that they believed to be gun shots. Sheriff’s Deputies entered the store, and made an initial security search of the store, to ensure there were no shooting victims in the store, and there was not an active shooting incident that was ongoing. At the same time, another 911 caller advised that Deputies had detained one of the suspects involved in the incident. This suspect was found to be in possession of a handgun. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office received information that someone had arrived at a local hospital transported by private vehicle with what was believed to be gunshot wounds. This was reported by the injured victim to hospital emergency room personnel.

A second security sweep of the store was conducted by EBRSO & BRPD Swat personnel, and found the store to be secure. At this point, investigators began gathering witness statements, interviewing store employees, and reviewing store surveillance video. Upon reviewing the video, investigators determined initial information obtained from eyewitnesses, and the 911 calls, was not accurate. Investigators have determined that an altercation did occur in the Customer Service area of the store between two males, where weapons were drawn. When customers saw the handgun, panic set in, and customers were running and screaming while trying to exit the store. Many witnesses have reported hearing ‘popping’ noises during the incident. A forensic examination of the weapon taken from the detained suspect will be conducted. The second suspect involved in the initial altercation ran from the store and has not been located as of yet. The investigation is ongoing, and investigators still have video to review and compare to eyewitness statements.

Given the recent events in El Paso and Dayton, and given the initial information we received via 911 calls and witnesses exiting the store, we responded with what we feel is appropriate. The national climate regarding these incidents has the nation on edge, and citizens’ anxiety levels much higher than normal. We are in a position that we must respond according to our protocols and training to ensure that we are keeping our citizens safe. I would like to personally thank all of our law enforcement partners, on the local, state, and federal levels, as well as all medical and fire department personnel for the tremendous response to this incident. Preliminary investigation results gathered are that a shooting incident did not occur, however the investigation is ongoing. We will update with any further developments from this incident."

At around 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, dispatch received several calls about reports of a shooting at the Walmart. Deputies evacuated the building, set up a perimeter, and conducted a search inside the store.

Deputies arrested one suspect, but the other fled the scene in a light-colored sedan. Detectives are actively looking for the second suspect. He’s described as a thin black male with a slight build, thin, wearing black shorts and a black shirt with a short haircut.

The person who was injured was an innocent bystander, according to East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

Gautreaux says an altercation between two patrons in the store erupted to the point where they pulled guns on each other. Both of the suspects had handguns. Detectives were able to recover one of the handguns.

“I want to let everybody know that this was not an active shooter,” Gautreaux said in a press conference at the crime scene. “Thank God this was nothing like anywhere near what they faced in El Paso or anything like this.”

EMS personnel say there were no patients transported from the Walmart, however, Baton Rouge General says a 42-year-old male drove himself to the hospital. Katie Johnston with BRG confirms the hospital is treating a person in fair condition. It’s believed the person was injured somehow, but not shot, BRG officials say. The person was treated and released from the hospital.

The sheriff says the person was standing in line to buy his child a lunchbox for school.