Wilkesboro Police Chief Craig Garris issued a written statement regarding the incident in which Jimmy Roger Minton Jr. is charged with stealing a pellet gun from Dunham’s Sports and then threatening people with it at Dunham’s and Walmart on U.S. 421 West Saturday night.
“Saturday’s incident at Dunham's Sports and Walmart shows that while we all consider where we live to be a safe, rural area, it is a misconception to believe that it is insulated from the threat of encountering an armed person in public,” said Garris in the statement, released early Monday afternoon.
“I am very grateful that no one was injured given the circumstances that several people, including our officers, were faced with. Mr. Minton was armed with a pellet gun that no one could tell from a real, assault-type weapon and menaced several people in both stores.
“We were able to take him into custody inside Walmart after he fled from Dunham's and I wish to commend all officers involved and express thanks to the Wilkes Sheriff's Office and N.C. Highway Patrol for their quick response and invaluable assistance.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the public that if you are faced with an armed, threatening person, do one of three things and do them immediately: Run away, hide in shelter or fight back with whatever means necessary to safeguard your life.
“Unfortunately, stories such as those recently in our country can happen anywhere, so be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times, educate your family members about these possibilities, live your life not in fear, but be prepared.”
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the incident at the Dunham’s Sports and Walmart stores in Wilkesboro.
The incident in Wilkesboro Saturday night 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 involved people posting threats on social media, reported CNN in a news article listing the Wilkesboro case and seven others.