Alleged "Gunman" In Walmart Parking Lot Was Actually A Guy Returning A Toy Gun

When returning a toy gun to Walmart here are two things you should not do:

1) Walk around in the parking lot with said toy gun out in the open, uncovered.

2) Return the gun at 4 am.

An unidentified man from El Paso, TX could have used this advice. He caused a panic at his local Walmart, according to the El Paso Times.

The incident began shortly before 4 a.m. at the Cielo Vista Wal-Mart store when someone spotted a man in the parking lot with a gun.

Responding police officers evacuated the store and began a search.

The purported gunman was found and questioned at the scene.

He was released a few minutes later when it was determined that the man was not intending to commit a crime.

Maybe next time try bringing a bag?

Police: Wal-Mart gunman was returning toy gun [El Paso Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. mk says:

    Ik now it’s useless to ask, but why do they even make toy guns?

  2. boandmichele says:

    @melking1972: because kids shouldnt play with real guns?

  3. vaxman says:

    Here’s an idea, no toy guns means less images of guns in a kids memory…

    Might help give the next generation something other than guns to solve problems, like name calling or something harmless like that, hell, fists would be better than guns at solving problems…

  4. ShadowFalls says:

    Didn’t he get one of those stickers at the door?

    Seriously though, shame on Walmart for selling a real looking gun or shame on everyone else for panicking over an obvious fake.

    Hard to say which one because there was no picture of it.

  5. Johnny_Roastbeef says:

    I dunno, but I hope Walmart adds this product to their baking aisle

  6. Greganda says:

    In New York it’s actually illegal to sell realistic-looking toy guns, I think because people (children) have been shot by police thinking the toy was real. Don’t know if that reason is urban legend or not.

  7. TheName says:

    Wait, can’t you buy real guns in many Wal-Marts? So shouldn’t they sort of be used to people walking through the parking lot carrying guns?

    “Watch out! There’s a guy with a gun and no receipt!

  8. formergr says:

    Okay, that photo is creepy in all sorts of ways, including:
    -The girl (assuming so because of her dress) looks like a boy.
    -The dead look in her eyes as she holds a decently real-looking toy gun
    -Her left eye is just floating off to the side there
    -The juxtaposition of gun against wedding and child.

  9. LieberFrau says:

    Girls who look like boys aren’t creepy.

  10. FullFlava says:

    Doesn’t surprise me too much.

    I was at the mall sometime back in highschool, and my friend and I bought a Nerf sticky dart gun at one of the toy stores on a whim. We were trying it out near the mall exit, just shooting a few of the sticky darts at tiles on the wall (and eachother).

    I happen to turn around and see 2 security guards and 3 uniformed cops coming down the hall towards us. Apparently someone called security and said that “two teenagers were brandishing a weapon and threatening customers.” A Nerf gun. Obviously they pretty much just rolled their eyes and left after questioning us a bit, but they did tell us we had to put the gun away.

  11. scoobydoo says:

    Everything with Walmart seems to go one way. They don’t mind SELLING ammo, they don’t mind SELLING real looking toy guns…

  12. louisb3 says:

    @formergr: Sorry, no. She doesn’t “look like a boy” (it’s not like little kids are supposed to be buff or hourglass-shaped), and having a lazy eye is not creepy.

  13. Sudonum says:

    Give me a break, please. I grew up in the ’60’s we had all kinds of toy guns, cap guns, bb guns, etc. I don’t own any real guns and never have. A whole generation of boys grew up playing army, cops and robbers, cowboys and others. Anybody in that generation who grew up and caused mayhem with a gun probably had lousy parents or other “personality” issues. Legislation is no substitution for parenting.

  14. scarletvirtue says:

    @Sudonum: I grew up in the ’70s-early ’80s and I remember having cap guns, water pistols and BB guns.

    The last I checked, my friends, brother and I still had our limbs and both eyes. I think the biggest problem was when a cap gun ran out of caps!

  15. Alger says:

    It’s a good thing this happened in Texas. Most other states, they’d have arrested the guy anyhow.

  16. formergr says:

    Okay, I said she looked like a boy because at first I thought it was a boy– until I saw the dress and realized I was wrong. It was in no way a comment on her physique, geez; just something about her face and the hair that looked like how a lot of little boys seem to be wearing it these days.

  17. LieberFrau says:

    I think you should apologize to that little girl. Or get ready to eat lead.

  18. waldy says:

    @Greganda: It’s illegal to sell realistic-looking toy guns here in Texas, too! They either have to be brightly-colored or else have a blaze-orange plug that proves they aren’t real. Wonder why that one didn’t?

  19. bricko says:

    Why get fake ones…that is what Ive always asked. My kids all have at least 3. My grandson just got his new .357 Magnum and is an expert already. But the fake ones should be painted orange as you noted. But some of the kids are getting into dangerous problems by painting the orange barrel of the air-soft guns. Not good idea as it could get you dead..from the cops or someone else.

  20. cmhbob says:

    @vaxman: Uhh, so suppose you get all the toy guns out of retail stores. What about the several thousand gun murders the average child see portrayed on TV and in the movies in their childhood?

    What about all the war movies out there? And the books?

  21. ptrix says:

    @waldy: just because a toy gun is required to be painted orange is no guarantee that it isn’t real and capable of causing harm. criminals HAVE painted their (real) guns orange to make them look like toys at first glance. Most cops know this and are trained to treat every gun, toy or not, as real until proven safe, so toy or not, the man is lucky to be alive.

    @formergr: The reason that picture is uncomfortable to look at is because the child looks FAR from innocent, (as we expect most kids to inherently look), holding a realistic looking gun in a confident manner and she has an expression in her face that could be interpreted as her looking like she knows exactly what it is, what it’s for, and how to use it… and that she may already have a target in mind :P

  22. lestat730 says:

    I thought all toy guns had to have there barrels painted blaze orange, but maybe thats just in NJ….

  23. RottNDude says:

    That kid looks cracked out on Xanax.

  24. Aladdyn says:


    For A while we didnt let my son have toy guns. Guess what he did? He picked up a stick and started to “shoot” things with it. If your growing up in America guns are in your life.

  25. Mr. Gunn says:

    This is why gun education is important. Unfortunately, only hunters bother to get it.

  26. Primate says:

    @vaxman: I played with toy guns all the time when I was a kid and somehow I manage to resist any temptation to shoot someone.
    Maybe it’s not the toy guns causing gun violence, maybe it’s society and parents not doing enough to let children know what is and is not acceptable?

  27. Alvis says:

    Another overreaction. Until you see it shoot a bullet, it’s irresponsible to assume it’s a real gun.

  28. emona says:

    Wal-Mart guns are NOT that awesome. I’d be more suspicious of what kind of fools just chill around Wal-Mart at 4AM.

  29. VaMPKiSS1 says:

    @Greganda: It’s not an urban legend.

    ny times article

  30. othium says:

    I have no problem with toy guns. I do have a problem with the those who think legislation is a substutute for parenting. Wish there was some sort of permit to have kids that required them to attend parenting class (and pass it!) before they are allowed to start churning out the little balls of joy.

  31. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I’m “pro-gun” and I don’t like realistic, life-size toy guns. Guns are machines and carry potential danger as many machines do. Giving a child a realistic toy gun is like giving them a realistic drill press, circular saw, or jackhammer.

  32. Steel_Pelican says:

    @Alvis: Should I wait until I get cut to assume it’s a real knife?

  33. Fuck Lion says:

    I grew up in the early-to-mid ’90’s with toy guns and *gasp* real gun shooting experience! Guess what? I still haven’t shot anyone.

  34. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Well, I grew up without any toy guns and I nevertheless own guns now, and I’m a terrific shot, too.

  35. Beerad says:

    @Alvis: “Until you see it shoot a bullet, it’s irresponsible to assume it’s a real gun.”

    Ummm, I don’t like guns and know virtually nothing about them, but isn’t this THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the primary rule of gun safety? That being that you always assume a gun is loaded and that it can fire and kill someone until you’ve verified that it’s not? I realize this was a toy, but the next time you see someone walking around with a gun in hand I’m sure you’ll say “Well, I don’t see bullets coming out so I’m sure it’s a toy.”

  36. Ikki says:

    I grew up in the early 90s in Poland. My grandfather has a huge gun collection, including guns that were used in the Warsaw Uprising.

    He has a target range in his (rather large) backyard. He let me shoot small arms at targets when I was young, and as I got older, he let me try out rifles.

    I have never shot anybody, even though I have access to more weapons than most Americans can ever dream of. However, I’m pretty good at Counterstrike and similar games.

  37. bbbici says:

    I used to be a toy-gun freak as a kid, and used to be the ‘arms dealer’ for neighborhood wargames.

    You americans are so lucky to be able to buy cool guns. Up here in Canucka it’s practically impossible, it’s damn expensive, and you have to get a permit every time you want to transport the gun even in the locked trunk of your vehicle.

    nothing like the feel of cold steel.

  38. E-Bell says:

    Yet another example of the pussification of America. Where else can a toy gun set off a panic?

  39. mandarin says:

    Who goes to Walmart at 4am?

  40. mandarin says:

    @E-Bell: I bet you’ll be the first guy to scream like a little girl if you saw someone walking to you with a plastic gun…

  41. @Alger: Texas? I’m surprised anyone even blinked. Isn’t everyone packing heat in Texas?

  42. Anonymous says:

    i played with lots of toy guns! and when i didn’t have any i still used sticks to pretend they were guns. and i had water guns. i have never commited any crimes. my record is spotless and i’m definatly not a violent person. kids don’t stay the same ya know. at about 13 years old or so, they ditch past ideas, dreams, and opinions for more adult ones. so even if you don’t buy your kid a toy gun, he’s got something he uses as the same thing anyhow.

  43. Benstein says:

    First off:
    1. It is not illegal to carry *real* guns in most states. It requires a permit in most places to carry concealed (vice openly which requires no permit). The permit is a simple criminal check that is pretty easy to get. I live in PA. I imagine Texas is similar or maybe even easier.

    2. If it is not illegal to carry a real gun, it is certainly not illegal to carry a toy.

    1. Realistic toy guns are more fun for little boys. My dad searched the toy stores for real looking guns for me as a kid. He also gave me a cheap real rifle (with the firing pin removed). I think it was a Mosin-Nagant. Needless to say, I was the envey of the neighborhood war games. My friends also had BB guns, pellet guns, sling shots, etc. And I grew up in the 80s.

    2. I also go to Walmart at 4am since it is far less crowded and it is the only place open. I did this alot when I worked the night shift.

  44. Beerad says:

    @Benstein: But the question is when you put your second and fourth points together: Would you agree that strolling towards the store at 4am carrying what appears to be a real gun might raise a few eyebrows?

  45. E-Bell says:

    @mandarin: Ooh, playing the internet tough guy now, are we?

  46. Mr.Purple says:

    I think it is illegal everywhere to have realistic toy guns.

  47. LucyInTheSky says:

    @boandmichele: kids shouldn’t play with any kind of guns, real or toy.

  48. XTC46 says:

    @Mr. Gunn: I agree with you. My step-mom was one of the “no toy guns” people but my dad was more of the “you can play with toy guns but you should point them at people or look down the barrel etc..” I grew up with toy guns, air rifles, paint ball guns etc and never had an accident with any of them because my dad taught me how to use them responsibly.