November 8, 2013

UPDATE 1:22 p.m. Suspect in possible Walmart bomb threat identified

Staff Reports
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has given the all clear regarding a vehicle at the Chickasha Walmart, which had suspicious wiring. 

Chickasha Police Chief Eddie Adamson said a suspect was taken into custody regarding the incident.

"He said he was there to commit suicide and blow himself up," said Adamson.

No explosive device was found in the truck, according to Adamson.

CPD released a statement about the incident at 12:50 p.m identifying the suspect as Micahel Brown (42).

"It is believed that the suspect had doused himself with gasoline or other flammable liquid prior to officers arriving," the released states. "The suspect had an address in Ponca City and had arrests for DUI and Vandalism in that area but upon further investigation it is believed that the suspect had been living in Chickasha, but was now homeless and living in his vehicle in the Chickasha area."

Jeremy Allread, OHP bomb squad captain, said when he inspected the vehicle there appeared to be something that could cause alarm; but upon looking at the device further, he determined there was no threat.

"It was basically just a bunch of miscellaneous junk," Allread said. "Based on the statement made to police and from what could be seen, it looked like he could have been something. That was the right thing to do."

It appeared as though the suspect did try to put together some type of explosive device using random wires from electronic devices and various liquids, one of which was paint thinner. But upon further inspection, Allread said there was nothing properly connected to create any type of device.

"The wires ultimately went nowhere," Allread said. "When you're on the outside looking in, it's hard to tell that."

Brown could be suffering from mental health issues, according to Major Elip Moore of the Chickasha Police Department. 
Brown was moving around violently as he was removed from his truck. There was duct tape strapped to his body, but no device was found.

Adamson said upon the suspects removal, police noticed suspicious wiring in the truck.
Adamson said Brown claimed he had a bomb strapped to his body.

Adamson confirmed the store did shutdown and all associates, and some customers, were moved to the back of the building.
"Police and fire fighters who responded to the initial threat said they saw suspicious wiring in a white truck that caused them concern," he said.

The store reopened around 11:45 a.m.
Walmart associate April Bevill said all associates were moved to the general merchandise and grocery receiving areas of the store.
Bevill said she saw police break the window of the truck in question, and pull a convulsing man out of the vehicle. She said the man was in his underwear with his pants around ankles and masking tape around each of his legs.

Bevill said the man is not a janitor who was recently let go from this location for asking a gay Chickasha couple to leave the store.

Traffic was detoured out of the Walmart parking lot during the incident.