Police: Customer who prompted Walmart evacuation referenced El Paso

Man now banned from all Northeast Florida Walmart stores

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man who referenced El Paso during a complaint call Thursday to the Walmart on Philips Highway just south of Emerson Street has been banned from all Walmart stores in Northeast Florida, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The man's call led the Philips Highway Walmart staff to evacuate their store Thursday afternoon.

Our newsroom started receiving calls and emails just after 12:30 p.m., saying shoppers and employees were cleared out from the store. 

News4Jax went to the store and an officer said Walmart made the decision to close before police even arrived to investigate.

The Sheriff's Office later announced that an "unhappy customer" had "made statements that made others feel uncomfortable" and Walmart had decided to evacuate out of an abundance of caution.

The incident report provided more details, saying the 45-year-old caller was upset over $200 he says was stolen from him at Walmart. During the call, which was recorded, he "made reference to the Walmart in El Paso" where nearly two dozen people were shot and killed last weekend, the incident report said. But the man "never made any statements to shoot up Walmart."

News4Jax is not naming the man because he is not charged with a crime.

Walmart management asked that the man be ordered not to come to any Walmart property in Northeast Florida.

News4Jax contacted a spokesperson for Walmart but we have not yet heard back. 


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