Harlingen police make arrest in suspected shooting threat at local Walmart

Update: 10:26 a.m.

A person suspected in a shooting threat at the Walmart in Harlingen has been arrested by authorities there, according to a police department statement.

The Harlingen Police Department announced via Facebook on Saturday that it has arrested the suspect, who has yet to be identified, following an investigation into the threat.

According to the statement, the department had received “numerous reports of a suspect claiming a shooting will occur at the Harlingen Walmart on August 11th.”

The big box retailer located off Expressway 83 across Valle Vista Mall is among the biggest shopping destinations in town, where back-to-school shoppers traditionally flock to take advantage of the tax-free weekend.

“Our investigators worked throughout the night and have arrested the suspect,” HPD further stated on Facebook.

In a news release, Harlingen police stated that the department received information about the threat, which had been posted on an unidentified social media site, at around 3:53 a.m. Saturday morning.

“During the course of this investigation Officers learned that a male subject had used a social media site to post up an imminent threat that was to occur at the Wal-Mart in Harlingen on a specific date,” the release read. “The male subject was located at a residence in Harlingen, and placed under arrest for the Terroristic Threat.”

The suspect hadn’t yet been arraigned the time the release was issued.

A similar case occurred this week involving the arrest of a 13-year-old male in connection with a suspected shooting threat at a Walmart in Weslaco. Both these cases, in Weslaco and now Harlingen, have occurred during a time of increasing anxiety about shopping at large retail stores following the Aug. 3 shooting massacre that claimed 22 lives, including Rio Grande Valley native Leonardo Campos, at a Walmart in El Paso.

White supremacist Patrick Crusius has since taken responsibility for the crime, admitting that he traveled from his Dallas suburb to El Paso to target and kill Mexicans.

Race, gun control, mental health and video game violence have since been topics of debate in the nation, with the president — who has been accused of his rhetoric regarding immigration matters being divisive and stoking racial tensions — has condemned white supremacy. This as the FBI continues to investigate what the federal government has deemed a case of domestic terrorism.

“The Harlingen Police Department would like to remind everyone that we will investigate and file the appropriate charges to anyone who make any threats directed toward our community with the intent to spread panic and fear,” the HPD release went on to state.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include additional information available via an agency news release.


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