The Wilkesboro Police Department charged a man with multiple counts of assault, larceny, possession of stolen goods, communicating threats and resist, obstruct and delay a public officer after an incident Saturday night.
Jimmy Roger Minton, 29, of Wilkesboro, was arrested after he was found hiding in the bathroom at the rear of the Walmart store on U.S. 421 in Wilkesboro, said Capt. Jason Delbert of the Wilkesboro Police Department.
Delbert said Minton had a weapon in his possession when officers found him in the bathroom, but he dropped it and was taken into custody without incident.
Delbert said officers then recovered the weapon, which he identified as “a pellet gun that resembled a real handgun.” No shots were fired and no one was injured during the incident, he said.
He said Minton “pointed the weapon at a few people and chased a few around” while inside Walmart, in addition to pointing it at an officer.
Events began when Wilkesboro police received a call from Minton’s mother about a disturbance between two people in the Walmart parking lot at 7:26 p.m. Saturday. He said she was in the Walmart parking lot when she called.
Delbert said that when officers arrived, they were told that a white male was going to cause a disturbance and that he may have a knife.
Delbert said they were told that the white male had left the area and may have gone inside Dunham’s Sports, which is nearby along U.S. 421.
He said an officer entered Dunham’s to locate the man, identified by Delbert as Minton, and was told by a Dunham’s employee that a man was inside the store with a gun.
Delbert said Minton pointed a weapon at the officer when he confronted Minton, so the officer took cover and started ordering Minton to drop the weapon.
Delbert said more officers arrived on the scene and Dunham’s was secured, but Minton was able to leave the store through a rear exit.
Delbert said officers then went to Walmart after receiving a report saying Minton was entering that store. He said officers encountered people exiting Walmart as they arrived and employees directed officers to the rear of Walmart as people were evacuating.
Delbert said that when officers found Minton in a bathroom there, Minton dropped his weapon and was taken into custody without incident.
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.
The Wilkesboro Police Department received calls from national and regional news media about the incident.
The incident at the Wilkesboro Walmart is among a wave of occurrences involving violent acts or threats of violence at Walmart stores nationwide since deadly shootings the prior weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Most of these incidents involve people posting threats on social media, reported CNN in a news article listing the Wilkesboro case and seven others.