Suffolk County police are investigating what may have been a staged fight that prompted panic and 911 calls about a possible active shooter at a Walmart in Commack Sunday.
Suffolk police chief of department Stuart Cameron said the incident that occurred over a busy holiday shopping weekend was sparked either by a dispute between a shopper and a cashier or by a group of men filming a staged fight.
“I want to find out if this was intentional,” Cameron said. “We can’t have people causing panic like this. I’m very concerned about this. If somebody did this intentionally, I want to find out who did it and I want them to face consequences.”
Suffolk police and other first responders responded to the Walmart on Crooked Hill Road after receiving 911 calls about an active shooter in the store just before 1 p.m. Sunday.
Investigators determined that no shots had been fired, police said. Instead, they learned that three men had been seen filming two others staging a fight in which one appeared to slap the other. One man screamed, “There is a gun,” according to a police statement.
Police are also looking into reports that shoppers may have called 911, Cameron said, after hearing a customer who had been involved in an argument with a cashier that he was going to get his gun.
Police officers and emergency medical services personnel diverted to the store were not immediately available to respond to real crises, Cameron said. “Fortunately this turned out to be nothing,” he said.
Cameron said he is not aware of other staged incidents sparking 911 calls about possible active shooters.
A Walmart spokesman said the company has provided police with security camera footage and is cooperating with the investigation.