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Many area residents received text messages last Thursday, or saw on the news, that a gang initiation was to take place that evening at a Wal-Mart ‘somewhere’ that would involve a potential gang member shooting three women. This is a hoax, according to the Ray County Sheriff’s Department, Richmond Police and Richmond Wal-Mart.
Rumors went out that Wal-Mart greeters were turning women and children away from shopping, telling them to return the next morning to shop. The hoax varied from whether three women or three children were the targets.
David Penny, manager at Richmond Wal-Mart, said the company issued a statement that this is a hoax and that Wal-Mart has the safety of its employees and customers as their priority. He also said he didn’t know of any action taken by greeters to turn women and children away from the store.
Actually, this hoax has swept through many states for several years. While it’s true one never knows what another will do, businesses do take security and customer safety very seriously.
“We got an alert from Missouri Highway Patrol dated Mar. 19 at 12:58 a.m.,” said Richmond Police Chief Terri McWilliams. “It mentioned the message regarding gang initiation and that there was no credible information to support it. It also said it was an urban myth. This came to us from the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) through MHP.”