Two male juveniles were apprehended on the early afternoon of Oct. 16 after a gun-shaped lighter in their possession set off speculation on social media that there may have been an active shooter event at the Forest Park Walmart, 1300 Desplaines Ave.
“It was just a replica gun. No one was shot,” Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins told the Review after it initially reached out for comment.
Hoskins said Forest Park police informed him at around 12:53 p.m. on Sunday that they had received a call from Walmart’s loss prevention department, which detects shoplifting at the store.
A witness who was in the area shortly after police arrived at Walmart said she saw people run into the parking lot.
Living Fresh Market, which is located nearby in Forest Park Plaza, locked its doors and barred patrons from entering as a precaution, the witness said.
According to the official police report of the incident and an internal memo shared with the Review, the store’s loss prevention officer spotted a 15-year-old boy and his 12-year-old cousin riding around on scooters, and the 15-year-old showed what looked like a gun and shoved it in his pants. The loss prevention officer called the police at around 11:57 a.m., showing them the surveillance footage of the incident when they arrived.
The officers were able to locate the two teens. The officers approached the teens with weapons drawn and took them into custody without any issue. It was only then that the officers saw the object was a gun replica lighter.
The two teens it turned out were in the store with their grandmother, who is their legal guardian. The 15-year-old said his cousin gave him the lighter after realizing that he forgot to leave it in the car.
The two were issued local ordinance citations for Disorderly Conduct-Breach of Peace and Disorderly Conduct-Unreasonable or Offensive Act and released into their grandmother’s custody.