A Walmart in Weslaco closed tonight after a rumor began to circulate on social media that a young man had made a threat against the store. Police officers have since deemed the threat non-legitimate.
Weslaco Police Chief Joel Rivera said officers responded to the Walmart, located on the corner of Texas Boulevard and Frontage Road late Wednesday night.
“We have units on scene and we have units in the area,” Rivera said, adding that there are no reports of an active shooter.
“At this point, it’s just a social media threat,” Rivera said.
Rivera said Walmart employees decided of their own accord to close the store for the rest of the night. Reached by phone just after midnight, an unnamed Walmart employee confirmed the store was closed, but declined to answer any other questions.
The online rumor and police response comes just days after a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart left 22 people dead and another 26 injured.
Rivera spoke of what is perhaps the first instance of post-El Paso shooting anxiety in the Rio Grande Valley.
“It’s evident that this has raised — this has created some type of alarm or panic since the El Paso incident,” the chief said.
He also sought to assure residents, saying his department as well as the Weslaco Fire Department have conducted extensive training to respond to such situations.
“We have held regular training for things related to active shooters. … It’s something that — not just because it’s in the news as of late —it’s something that we’ve had trainings for before,” Rivera said.