Las Vegas suspect wearing hazmat suit sprays mystery liquid on 13 Walmart shoppers. Incident comes amid inertia and fear surrounding coronavirus epidemic.
Original post: March 15: A man dress in a hazmat suit has been arrested after entering a Walmart store and spraying 13 people with an unknown liquid, Las Vegas police said. The incident comes as Americans scramble to buy supplies amid rising concerns due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The incident occurred at the Walmart store at 7200 Arroyo Crossings at around 8:20 p.m. on Saturday evening local time, KLAS reported.
Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the suspect walked into the store wearing a hazmat suit. He said 13 people in the store came into contact with the ‘clear liquid’ the suspect was spraying — but none of them were injured or showed any symptoms, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The nature of the clear liquid was not elaborated.
‘There was an individual that came into the store. He dressed in hazmat suit and started spraying certain items within the store,’ OcampoGomez said during a press corps meeting outside the store.
‘At this point, we know that approximately 13 people came in contact with this substance that was being sprayed. None of these individuals have shown any signs or symptoms and nobody has been transported [to hospital] at this time,’ the rep added.
The incident led to Walmart evacuating store workers and customers as police converged at the scene.
‘He had some clear liquid in it with the painter’s tape, something written on it,’
A witness in the store told KLAS that she called 911 after the man started spraying people and items including fresh food.
‘He had some clear liquid in it with the painter’s tape, something written on it,’ Zandra Calma said. ‘He was just spraying unnecessary things and peoples’ personal spaces, on conveyor belts, and worst of all, by the fresh foods.’
OcampoGomez added that the suspect fleeing by car prior to authorities arriving. Officers were able to track down the suspect, who has not been identified, and take him into custody after a witness copied the fleeing suspect’s license plate.
The spokesperson also said there was no danger to the community and also urged people to not panic buy items due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We take these threats very seriously,’ he said.
‘One of the things we want to urge the public is that we know there’s a difficult time going on with the world right now, but there is no reason for you guys to be going into the stores late at night and hoarding some of the supplies, due to the fact that there are plenty of supplies left in the stores at this point,’ the spokesperson reiterated.
It was not immediately clear what motivated the suspect and what charges the suspect faced.