PALMDALE – A Palmdale Walmart was evacuated Friday afternoon after a man allegedly threatened a customer and exposed a firearm, authorities said.
The incident happened around 1:10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the Walmart located at 40130 10th Street West in Palmdale, according to Lt. Ron Shaffer of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
“We had an individual come shopping, and another person came up to him and made threats to him, threatened his personal safety and exposed a firearm. He had it in his waistband,” Shaffer said.
The victim ran away and sought help from a California Highway Patrol officer, who was at the store as part of a CHiPS for Kids “Stuff-A-Bus” toy drive, according to Shaffer.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was alerted and deputies evacuated the store. They searched for the suspect but did not find him.
“In hindsight, we found out that the suspect had left just before they cleared the store,” Shaffer said.
Employees and customers were allowed to return to the store around 2:20 p.m., according to Shaffer.
The incident remains under investigation, and detectives were still searching for the suspect Friday evening. The suspect is described as a black male, about 6 feet tall, who was wearing a gray shirt and gray pants at the time of incident, the lieutenant said.
The victim’s wife spoke to reporters at the scene and said she witnessed the gunman threaten her husband. She said the gunman had been incarcerated and he was blaming the victim for his predicament.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at 661-272-2400.