Hundreds of Walmart stores close early amid protests; some cut hours for ‘potential threat’

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — Several Walmart stores in North Carolina closed early over the weekend, although it is not clear why in all cases.

Walmart said it closed hundreds of stores across the country early Sunday afternoon to protect employees and customers.

Scott Pope, a spokesman, said several dozen stores were closed all day Sunday because of damage from protests. He said he didn’t know when those stores would be able to reopen.

In North Carolina, the Walmart in High Point closed early Sunday as a precaution over protests, according to WGHP. Nearby, a Walmart in the Davidson County town of Lexington also closed over a threat and a person was later arrested.

Walmarts that appeared to close early Sunday in central North Carolina included those in Sanford, Holly Springs and Wake Forest.

A Walmart spokeswoman later said the Holly Springs store closed as a precaution against protests that could lead to looting.

Elsewhere, the Roanoke, Va., Walmart closed early Sunday. Two Walmarts in the Norfolk area closed early Saturday because of a “potential threat.”

CBS 17 asked Walmart corporate officials about the closing of stores as a precaution concerning protests.

“As we continue monitoring the situations unfolding in cities across the country, we will keep our focus on prioritizing the safety of our associates and customers,” a statement from Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said. “We’ll make the decisions to close or reopen stores in the area based on the needs of the community.”

In the Lexington case, around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Walmart workers contacted police and said that they closed the store after a threat of violence.

The threat was that someone was going to cause gun violence at the store. No weapons were displayed.

Lexington police officers identified the person who made the threat, and that person was taken into custody.

Walmart officials closed the store for the rest of the day in cooperation with police to ensure public safety and to assist with the investigation, officials said.

Target announced that it is temporarily closing dozens of its stores in the United States as protests continue to erupt across the country.

Included are 71 stores in Minnesota, 49 in California and 12 stores in New York.

— WAVY-TV and WGHP contributed to this report

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