BOLIVAR, Mo. -- Police in Bolivar, Mo. arrested, then released a woman after a customer told workers she was showing a gun and threatening to shoot people inside the Walmart.
Officers arrested the woman as she was checking out for the possible threat. She did not have a gun on her at the time. But police say she did have one in her car. Detectives questioned her, then released her.
Chief Mark Webb says surveillance video from the store shows her shopping like anyone else. It does not show her making a threat of any kind.
Webb said the incident is still under investigation and admitted that with the recent Walmart events in El Paso and Springfield, it's easy to understand why the public is on-edge and wondering just how to react to what's going on around them.
After all this is not the first time that Bolivar has had a scare at Walmart.
Just three years ago 20 year-old Blaec Lammers was sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting he had homicidal thoughts and bought rifles with plans to shoot up a Walmart and a movie theater in Bolivar. His parents turned him in to police hoping to get their son psychiatric help and were upset that he ended up getting prison time.
Then this month just days after a gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others at an El Paso Walmart, a 20 year-old in Springfield loaded up with guns and ammunition claiming he was just testing his second amendment rights caused a chaotic reaction at a Walmart Neighborhood Market and was charged with making a terrorist threat.
That incident encapsulates many of the hot-button issues being talked about all across our nation from divisive politics to mass shootings to gun control.
With Missouri's open carry law, people have a right to carry a gun but what happens when others view that person as a potential threat?
If you took out someone carrying a gun because you were concerned they were about to harm someone, could you be in legal trouble?
It's enough to confuse and confound anyone from the general public to police officers themselves.
"You do have permission to be confused," Webb said when asked if citizens had the right to feel conflicted these days.
Webb has spent almost 40 years in law enforcement including a stint with the Springfield Police where he worked the well-known case of the three missing women.
But he admits that things have really changed in recent years.
"I worry about my people every time we send them out there because it's just a totally different world now," he said. "This is probably the most challenging times for you to be a front-line police service provider in America."
He also was asked for his advice to the public public should you encounter a similar situation like the recent one in Springfield where you didn't know for sure if a gun-toting shopper was a threat or not.
"Usually you've got to trust your inner feelings," Webb said. "It's all about being safe and if you feel something there's nothing wrong with going down the next aisle or going ahead and scooting out the front door."
There's also the citizens as protectors approach though shared by more and more people these days that says if more people carried guns, an active shooter might be discouraged to act or at least be taken down quicker.
Webb offers this word of caution though if you take matters into your own hands.
"If you're waving guns and brandishing weapons, when we arrive we have to treat everyone the same as the armed assailant," he explained. "The police don't know who you are and as you see all across the nation, at times somebody was trying to stop it and they end up getting shot by the police because they didn't know."