Gunfire in Walmart as man pulls up pants and weapon falls out of pocket, officials say

Around the South

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (AP/WRIC) – Police in Virginia say a small handgun went off inside a Walmart restroom when it fell out of a man’s pocket as he pulled up his pants.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch on Wednesday reported the gun went off after it hit the floor Tuesday at the store in Midlothian, prompting an evacuation and police response.

Chesterfield police Lt. Brad Conner says two other customers in the restroom were not hurt. The round went into a bathroom stall. Conner says gun owner Clifford C. Shook Jr. left the store without notifying anyone of the situation.

Conner says police tracked down Shook after reviewing video surveillance and interviewing a person who had been with him at the store.

One witness told WRIC she heard “two distinct bangs” while in the self-checkout line at the store.

“I was checking out in the self-checkout line,” Mary DePasquale said. “I heard two distinct bangs that had a metallic-like sound. I thought someone dropped a ladder. Then I saw a couple Walmart employees and other people running toward the exit screaming ‘Get out! Get out! It is an active shooter!’”

DePasquale, who said she lives in Chesterfield, recalled how she ran out of the store and came upon police officers with their guns drawn.

The 66-year-old Shook has a concealed-carry permit. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 9 on a misdemeanor count of reckless handling of a firearm.

Court records do not list an attorney for Shook.

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