A Local Wal-Mart was evacuated on Sunday, August 18, 2013, after two suspects released an unknown gas into the air. More than 150 people were inside of the Walmart, located on Highway 6 near Westpark Drive when the evacuation began late Sunday night. Most of the inhabitants of the store began to cough and sneeze all at once, and some experienced difficulty breathing. Employees instructed everyone to go outside while Hazmat crews arrived on the scene and the building was successfully evacuated.
The area was kept clear until the air quality had returned to safe levels. The two suspects who caused the ordeal had already left the area. Law enforcement officials were not able to identify the substance that was sprayed into the air, though they do know it was administered through canisters. A local news source 92 FM claims that the substance was pepper spray.
Suspects Caught on Camera but Still Escaped Scene
Security cameras located around the store and throughout the parking lot will be key in this investigation as law enforcement tries to figure out the details of this strange situation. Both suspects were caught on camera and while most of Wal-Mart’s patrons escaped unharmed during the incident, four people are recovering in the hospital.
Witnesses claimed that the entire store was affected by the strange substance, affecting each person with a varying degree of severity. Headaches, nausea, coughing, sneezing, and trouble breathing were reported, but some people observed customers throwing up in the aisles of the store.
The suspects are said to have been between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, and their motive is still unclear. A few people suspect the chemical was used as a distraction for an attempted robbery, though it is not clear as to whether anything was stolen.
Store Re-Opened and Search for Suspects Begins
The store reopened after Hazmat had tested the air quality and verified that is was safe to breathe. Police are on the search for the two suspects. For now, we can only hope those that were affected by the strange gas don’t have any long-lasting effects from breathing in the substance.