There was panic in the Utah man’s voice as he told the 911 dispatcher about an incident at a Walmart.
“Just send somebody, just somebody,” he said urgently. “Somebody is shooting. They got a gun…They gonna shoot up the store.”
There was only one catch.
Police have charged Jimmie Willis, 27, with making the call as part of an impromptu plot to divert police attention from a traffic stop in which he had been pulled over for a broken taillight. Willis was on probation at the time of the traffic stop.
Willis was stopped back on Nov. 19. While the patrol officer went to check the information Willis gave him — information that was false
Willis used the time to place what sounded like a panic-filled call.
For a while, it worked. Police responded to Willis’ report of a man in the bathroom of a nearby Walmart. SWAT units and armed officers entered the store, only to find out that the report was false.
“As we send officers in, we’re deploying for a worst case scenario of course. Where we have a report of a man with a gun threatening to shoot, our officers are clearly armed in such a way that’s what they’re intending to run into.certainly a more significant and serious event that he created by trying to avoid some simple traffic trouble,” said Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen.
Police did not take the hoax lying down. They traced the call to Willis’ cell phone and came to arrest him.
However, Willis had nailed shut the front door to his house. He surrendered peacefully as police were planning to send a K-9 into the house.
Willis was charged with obstruction, making a false alarm and providing false ID. Willis was on probation at the time of the incident, having had a string of arrests that date back to 2012.