A man charged with chasing and pointing a pellet gun at people inside the Dunham’s Sports store in Wilkesboro and the nearby Walmart Saturday night told an officer that he was influenced by two recent mass shootings.
Wilkesboro Officer C.G. Colbert said in a written report that Jimmy Roger Minton Jr., 29, “told me the reason why he did what he did. Minton said he has seen what happened in the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and wanted to go to Dunham’s and Walmart to kill a bunch of people.”
Colbert said Minton made the statement after he asked Minton if he was okay while he was in custody in the backseat of his patrol car, parked outside Walmart after Minton was arrested inside. Colbert had checked on him because he was moving around.
Colbert later took Minton to the Wilkes County Jail, where he was charged with six counts of misdemeanor assault and one count each of misdemeanor larceny, possession of stolen goods, resisting a public officer and assault on a government official. His address was listed in Colbert’s report as Dehart Church Road, North Wilkesboro.
Capt. Jason Delbert of the Wilkesboro Police Department said the misdemeanor assault charges resulted from people stating in interviews that Minton pointed the pellet gun at them and/or chased them. He said the assault on a government official charge resulted from Minton pointing the pellet gun at an officer inside Dunham’s.
Delbert said the pellet gun was stolen from Dunham’s, resulting in the larceny and possession of stolen goods charges against Minton. He said the Swiss Arms MOD-Fire .177 caliber pellet gun stolen was recovered when Minton was taken into custody without incident.
He said more charges may be filed. No shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident, Delbert said.
As of late Monday afternoon, Minton was in the Wilkes County Jail with “special watch” status in “administrative segregation” (padded cell without other inmates), said Capt. Jason Whitley, Wilkes Detention Center director. “He has been evaluated and will be evaluated further by Daymark” Recovery Services, which provides behavioral health care, Whitley added.
Minton is being held under $1 million secured bond.
Colbert reported that events began when Minton’s mother, Martha Minton, called Wilkesboro police a little after 8 p.m. while she was parked in the Walmart parking lot, shared Minton’s history of violence against her and said she was worried about him possibly buying or stealing a knife from Walmart. She stated that her son had walked from Walmart to Dunham’s.
Colbert said Wilkesboro Officer J.G. McHargue, who had gone to Dunham’s in search of Minton, then said over the radio that she had found Minton in Dunham’s, that he appeared to have a gun and that she needed assistance.
Colbert went to Dunham’s to assist McHargue and said he encountered Minton near the rear of the store and saw that he had what looked like a short automatic rifle in his hands. He said he told Minton to drop the gun but Minton continued moving and was able to exit the building through a rear door. Other officers had arrived by then.
He stated that the Wilkes Communications Center reported receiving a call about an armed man being inside Walmart. Cobert said he and Wilkesboro Sgt. Ronnie Price began clearing people from Walmart and looking for Minton. He was located in a bathroom at the rear of the store and was taken into custody without incident, said Colbert, adding that the stolen pellet gun was found on the floor next to him.
A woman told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot via email Saturday night that her husband, who works at Walmart, was walking past the deli there and intending to leave through the grocery store entrance at 8:06 or 8:07 p.m. Saturday when “a white male walked in, looked him in the eye and raised a long gun, aiming it inside.”
The woman continued, “My husband then told another associate to get out and ran out the doors, telling customers to not go in. He called 911 and hid in his car.”
The woman said she went to Walmart Saturday night after the incident occurred and was told by employees and customers there that a white male entered Walmart through the grocery store entrance “raised a long gun and pointed it at them, told them to get down on the floor. He then turned and walked down by the registers with his gun raised.”
The 24-hour Wilkesboro Walmart was closed after it was evacuated, but reopened before 11 p.m. Wilkesboro police left the scene about 10:30 p.m. Dunham’s, which normally closes at 9:30 p.m., was closed early due to the incident.
In addition to Wilkesboro police, Wilkes Sheriff’s Office deputies and N.C. Highway Patrol troopers also responded.
Capt. Brandon Absher said the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office has charged Minton with misdemeanor assault on multiple prior occasions. He said none of these incidents resulted in injuries.
The sheriff’s office charged him with assault on law enforcement and communicating threats in May 2015.
Absher said the sheriff’s office charged Minton with aggravated assault and second-degree arson in June 2016. He said the assault charge resulted from gasoline being thrown on Minton’s mother and the arson charge resulted from the residence where Minton and his mother lived be set on fire. There was little damage.
Minton’s mother was the victim when he was charged with assault on a female in June 2018 and again in April 2019. He also was charged with resisting a public officer as a result of barricading himself inside a residence in the incident in April, said Absher.