Walmart closes to investigate bomb threat
COTTONWOOD -- Just after noon Wednesday, a Cottonwood Walwart employee received several calls from a man who insisted there was a bomb on the premises.
Cottonwood Police Detective Sergeant Tod Moore said that the employee described the man as being middle age and very angry.
Because the man called back persistently, Walmart took the threat very seriously and began evacuating the 90,000-square-foot store and then called police. Once the evacuation was completed, Cottonwood police searched the store for anything deemed suspicious or out of the ordinary. Police walked through the store with a manager - who would know what may look out of place in the store -- to make sure they didn't miss anything. They also went through personal such as employee backpacks.
Moore said all the Cottonwood detectives and patrol staff and even administration was on the scene.
Moore said, "It does not appear at this time this was a valid threat. However we take these calls seriously and the investigation into who made these calls is ongoing. Walmart employees did a fantastic job to secure the safety of their patrons." At this time the content of the threats was not being released.
The entire store and parking lot was cordoned off, including the Carl's Jr. restaurant. Waiting shoppers lined the streets.
The adjacent Mingus Union High School was also placed on lockdown during the emergency.
The store was closed 2 ½ hours, before it was re-opened.
Breaking news - Walmart in Cottonwood has been evacuated. Employees and shoppers are in the parking lot and police have closed off the entrances. A Walmart employee said it would be several hours before the store is reopened.
At 2 p.m., Walmart associates were allowed to go back into the store. The parking lot is still closed off, and no customers are allowed to go into the store.
In addition, Mingus Union Superintendent Paul Tighe reported, "Mingus Union High School initiated a limited campus lockdown this afternoon for almost an hour on the advice of Cottonwood PD due to a situation at Walmart. We have just returned to normal operations. Instruction continued through the limited lockdown but the perimeter of the campus was closed to ingress or egress and student mobility within the campus was restricted."
Customers were allowed to return to the store at 2:27 p.m.
For more updates, also visit facebook.com/verdenews VVV/Vyto Starinskas & Dan Engler