Man arrested after prank 911 call leads to gunman scare at Walmart

Jimmie Willis, 27, arrested Thursday night.  The Nibley man is accused of calling 911 saying there was a gunman at the south Logan Walmart, to avoid being arrested during a traffic stop. 

LOGAN —A man on probation accused of reporting a gun threat to try and avoid being arrested during a traffic stop, is now in jail facing additional charges.

Logan City Police arrested 27-year-old Jimmie Willis Thursday night after they surrounded his Nibley home, near 95 West 3200 South. He had barricaded himself in a room and refused to speak with officers. He was later peacefully taken into custody for questioning after cooperating with police negotiators.

Police Chief Gary Jensen said Willis is believed to have called 911 saying there was a gunman at the south Logan Walmart. The prank call caused a scare among customers and prompted police to temporarily lockdown the store and other surrounding businesses.

Investigators later determined the call came from Willis who had been pulled over by an officer, making a traffic stop. It is believed the suspect made the call to lure the officer to the more important public safety incident and avoid being arrested.

The call prompted a huge response from local law enforcement who arrived at the store carrying assault weapons and SWAT equipment. Officers found that no one in the store reported seeing the gunman and they quickly learned that the threat was unsubstantiated.

Willis is being held on an initial offense of violating his probation, a third-degree felony, and four misdemeanors including obstructing justice, making a false alarm, driving on a denied license and giving false personal information. His bail has been set at $3,280.

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