First, a witness report of a man — armed — walking into the Boynton Beach Wal-Mart Supercenter on Saturday night.
Then, another report — he was inside, armed with two handguns, and he was going to kill people.
That’s how the chaotic and frightening scene Saturday night began, according to a briefing log on the Boynton Beach Police Department’s Facebook page posted Monday.
After a search by the SWAT team, the alleged man was never found, and no one was injured.
Was it a hoax? Was it real and the man fled?
The department’s detectives declined to release further information, citing an ongoing investigation.
Police were called at about 7:25 p.m. to the Wal-Mart at 3200 Old Boynton Rd. across from the Boynton Beach Mall. Police received two 911 calls about the man, and the store was evacuated by about 8:30 p.m., department spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said.
The SWAT team and K-9 unit searched the store, clearing it about 10 p.m.
Employees huddled in the emptied parking lot beyond the yellow police tape during the search.
The scare startled customers, including Danielle Boody and her friend Tiffany Little. They went food shopping at Wal-Mart on Saturday night and stopped at the jewelry area to look at necklaces before checking out. A woman’s voice sounded on the intercom, but Boody said she tuned it out, because it’s usually not important and often an employee paging another.
But the woman’s voice didn’t stop. It caught their attention.
“All we heard was her being like, ‘Evacuate.’ All she kept repeating is, ‘This is not a drill. Go to the front door,’” said Boody, 23, of Boynton Beach. “I was scared. I looked at my friend. She picked up her purse and we ran outside.”
“You just see everybody, including the Wal-Mart employees, running to the front,” she said.
On Monday, business was flowing as usual at the store and many shoppers said they hadn’t heard about the scare.
After learning the details, they shared varied reactions.
“That’s somebody’s idea of fun, scaring everybody to death, particularly over the holidays,” said June Arthurs, a Titusville resident visiting for the week.
Boynton resident Ron Tabin said he doesn’t let things like this scare him.
“I think we’re in a crazy world,” he said.
Bess Behar, 87, was more troubled by it and said what happened does scare her.
“I know how things are going in this world unfortunately. Everyday it’s something new,” she said while mentioning the violence reported Monday at Ohio State.
“I feel a little afraid but I’m not going to give in to my fear.”