False alarm: Liberty police say there is no gunman in Walmart

Liberty police officers, Liberty County sheriff's deputies and Texas game wardens responded to a 911 call Saturday night that reported a man had barricaded himself in one of the back restrooms with a long gun. As it turned out, he was a plumber working on the toilets.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

Customers in Liberty Walmart Saturday night around 8 p.m. were rushed out of the store, abandoning their shopping carts, after a report that a man with a gun had barricaded himself in one of the bathrooms in the back of the store.

“Shortly before 8 p.m., there was a man who came in carrying what appeared to be a long gun bag. He was headed to the back of the store and the greeter asked if she could help him,” said Lt Chip Fairchild, spokesperson for Liberty Police Department. “He said no and kept walking toward the back of the store. He went into the bathroom and pulled the metal bench in front of the door, so no one would enter.”

A store manager came to investigate and reportedly opened the door to hear what she thought was the clicking of a shotgun being racked. She backed out and called 911 to report the situation. Liberty Police Department and other agencies responded within minutes.

“We came in, made the customers in the store exit and then surrounded the bathroom. The guy came walking out. They secured him and then checked the bathroom,” Fairchild said.

Inside the man’s bag was plumbing supplies. He was a plumber working on the bathroom sewer drains. The alleged clicking sound that had caused the alarm turned out to be the sound of the metal sewer snake hitting the porcelain of the toilet as he tried to clear the drain.

“You hate to say that someone overreacted. They were acting on what they thought was good information,” Fairchild said. “Everyone is back inside the store finishing their shopping. Everyone is safe.”

As for the plumber, Fairchild said he was supposed to be at the store at that time.

“He was just working. I am sure right now he just wants to get his ticket signed and go home,” he said.

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