WARMINSTER >> There are some things that you just don’t do, especially in today’s environment.
I was at the Wal-Mart in Warminster on Saturday afternoon when a group of individuals thought it would be funny to run through the store, demanding that customers “get down on the ground.”
I was in the grocery section picking up a few items when five individuals rushed down the aisle I was in, brushing past me and several other bewildered customers. I then heard some inaudible shouts coming from the direction they were headed.
As I proceeded toward the checkout area, I saw the individuals again, rushing through the center of the store. This time I clearly heard what they were shouting: “Get down on the ground.”
As you will read in the police report below, customers also heard them shouting “active shooter” and “gun,” two phrases which I never heard personally, but definitely not words you should be shouting in public places for laughs.
I glanced in their direction after they repeated their demand and noticed they had no guns or weapons showing and they were making a beeline to the front door of the store, not a likely scenario, I surmised, for individuals intent on a mass shooting.
I will never forget, though, the stunned look on the face of an elderly shopper who stood motionless nearby grasping her cart tightly, probably unsure of what she should do. I then heard other customers yelling out to the individuals as they left the store, “That’s not funny” as the group barreled out of the front doors laughing.
I did not see everything, so there might have been a rush of shoppers out of the store as the police report suggests. But as I headed to the checkout aisle, from my observation everything was normal after the individuals had left the store. And I would say for the most part many were oblivious to what had just happened or had already written it off.
A woman with a cartload of items in front of me in the self-checkout line politely said I could go ahead of her, a courtesy I thanked her for but did not accept since she was there before me. In the meantime, some gentleman jumped ahead of everyone as if that single tube of toothpaste he carried in his hand gave him the right to ignore the people waiting in line.
Like I said, everything was normal after the individuals left the store.
As I was driving out of the parking lot, a police car - its lights flashing - was headed in the direction of the store from Street Road. That was the first sign I saw of any kind of emergency.
I have witnessed some stupid stunts in my life, but given the day and age we live in, this one rates right up there. Hopefully the police track these individuials down and they learn a lesson in civility.
Here is the police report about the incident issued by the Warminster Township Police Department via CrimeWatch:
On Saturday, Feb. 8 at approximately 1:44 pm, Warminster Police responded to the Wal-Mart located at 100 East Street Road for a report of person(s) yelling for people to get on the floor.
Upon arrival police spoke to witnesses who stated that 4 to 5 black males walked into Walmart and began to scream "active shooter," "gun,” “get down on the ground". This caused many shoppers to rush and run out of the store in a panic.
The subjects then began laughing and left the store. The subjects were in the company of a black female. They left the area in a silver or light blue Nissan Rogue bearing PA registration KCT-3096.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Warminster Police at (215) 672-1000. Case # Wt-20-01737.