Police, citizens react to Gulfport Walmart incident - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Police, citizens react to Gulfport Walmart incident

Wa;-Mart on Hwy 49 was the scene of chaos on Sunday night when a man load and cocked a shotgun in the store (Image Source: WLOX News) Wa;-Mart on Hwy 49 was the scene of chaos on Sunday night when a man load and cocked a shotgun in the store (Image Source: WLOX News)
Chief Papania expressed his concerns with the incident during a press conference (Image Source: WLOX News) Chief Papania expressed his concerns with the incident during a press conference (Image Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The men who entered Walmart in Gulfport with a shotgun, bought ammunition, loaded the gun, and cocked it, all while standing in the middle of the store, are not being charged with any crime. That has Coast residents confused and concerned.

The two men entered Walmart, Krispy Kreme and Winn Dixie on Sunday evening.

“After reviewing the yields of the investigation with prosecutors, it was determined that the action of the two men did not violate Mississippi state statute regarding the carry of firearms,” said Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania.

During the Monday afternoon press conference, Papania expressed his disdain with the incident that took place.

“While the actions of these two men are sanctioned by state laws, what they did negatively impacted our community,” said Papania.

He believes store employees acted properly by evacuating the store and distancing themselves from what he says could have been a potentially violent situation.

“I'll be very frank with you. I looked very hard at the laws. If there was something I could have arrested these people for, I would,” said Papania.

Upon learning that Mississippi's open carry laws prevented this individual from being charged with a crime, many citizens were up in arms.

“If the guy wants to carry one on his hip, that's a different story, but you get in to the point where you're starting to scare children now, and I think it's a bad thing,” said Kye Wilson.

Tyree Smith agreed, calling the incident totally disrespectful.

“I mean, everybody was scared, fearing for their lives. I mean, that's not something you should do,” said Smith.

With the recent tragedy in Charleston, SC, one resident feels sad that our laws protect someone who could potentially be a real threat to the community.

“It should scare a lot of people, because that just leads to opportunities for more stuff like that to happen and maybe even worse stuff,” said Smith.

Papania added, none of the businesses the men entered that night prohibited the open carry of firearms.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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