Defusing the Situation

Kilgore Police Department officers Joey Johnston and Bradley Greener inspect a suspicious backpack left in the Kilgore Wal-Mart on Stone St. on Wednesday. The bag had been left in the store with a note indicating a bomb was stored inside. Responding officers evacuated those inside the store to safety before determining there was no bomb inside the pack. KPD made three arrests in the case.; each suspect has been charged with making a terroristic threat, a Class 3 Felony in Texas.

Kilgore Police Department responded to Walmart on Stone St. at approximately 5:54 p.m. Wednesday evening to investigate a theft report.

In the course of their investigation inside the store, KPD officers alerted to a suspicious backpack left on the floor of the Walmart. The backpack was labeled with a handwritten note reading “bomb in here.”

All employees and customers inside the store were evacuated to safety while the investigation continued.

Officers taking part in the investigation interviewed suspects believed to be linked to the event and determined the bag and its contents were harmless. Upon looking inside the pack, officers discovered stuffed animals and learned the bag had been placed as part of a social media prank.

Three suspects have been taken into custody at this time, charged with making a terroristic threat which caused impairment or interruption of public communications, placing the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury and influencing the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state,or a political subdivision of the state. This offense is a Class 3 felony in Texas, punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

According to arrest reports, two of the suspects have been identified: 19-year-old Javiane Jaye Hooper, of Gladewater, and 19-year-old Jammal Justice Hunter, also of Gladewater. Hunter has also been charged with giving false identifying information, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine as much as $2,000, or both.

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