It’s a tradition for the Santiago family of Harrisonburg to go down to the Walmart on Burgess Road to pick up snacks for the kids on Friday nights.
On Friday, while continuing the tradition, Alberto Santiago and his wife approached the store in their car around 10 p.m., but something was odd.
“We got there and my wife saw it first,” Santiago said. “She said ‘Look, look, look, look.’”
A man was holding a military-style rifle in the parking lot outside the Santiagos’ vehicle and to Alberto’s right. Police officers were scattered through the parking lot, he said.
“I didn’t see no commotion or screaming — nothing bad,” Santiago said.
A cop told the Santiago family to back up, and they left the shopping center, according to Santiago.
Members of the public had called the police about the man with the firearm, according to a statement from city spokesperson Michael Parks.
The man, unnamed in the statement, also brought the rifle to the same spot Saturday night.
“In neither occurrence did we determine that the individual had broken any laws, nor that the situation rose to the type of incident that would require [the Harrisonburg Police Department] or the public, to take any action,” the statement said. “We are continuing to monitor for any further incident that would require HPD’s involvement related to this individual, but at this time the individual has acted within their rights from what HPD has reviewed.”
Santiago said “hell yeah” he and the family will be returning to Walmart next Friday to continue their tradition.