Walmart evacuated over threat

Published 4:44 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shoppers at the Walmart Supercenter on Twin City in Port Arthur were evacuated along with employees when a threat was called in Wednesday.

Port Arthur police and fire units responded to a call near noon, according to PAPD Lt. John Owens.

“We got a report of a possible threat to the store,” Owens said. “And, in an abundance of caution, management asked patrons to leave until the fire department and police could investigate the premises to ensure there was no device or any reason for alarm.”

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Owens said, “And we investigated — everything is clear and uneventful.”

After waiting about 30 minutes outside, employees and shoppers were allowed back into the store at 12:35 p.m.

Among the people outside were shoppers who were waiting to get back to their vehicles parked near the store or to the groceries they had left inside when the evacuation announcement had come.

“They said on the intercom, ‘Evacuate the store. Everyone evacuate; everyone evacuate,’” Mark Hilton said.

Hilton was one of the people waiting towards the back of the Walmart parking lot and whose groceries were still in the store.

“I don’t know if it was a drill or not; then everyone started leaving,” he said.

Saundra Miranda was one of the shoppers who had come during the evacuation notice.

“We were pulling in when their employees flagged us off,” she said. “They said it was a bomb threat.”

As of press deadline, Port Arthur police could not confirm at this time what kind of threat was called in.

“I don’t know what society and the world are coming to,” Miranda said. “Especially the next generation. Young children don’t understand.”