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Prosecutor: Man With Airsoft Gun Who Caused Panic At Union Walmart Turns Himself In

Walmart in Union was evacuated Thursday on reports of a man with a gun. The suspect turned himself into police.
Walmart in Union was evacuated Thursday on reports of a man with a gun. The suspect turned himself into police. Photo Credit: Google Maps

A Newark man who caused the evacuation of a Union Walmart Thursday after brandishing an air-soft gun was arrested after turning himself into police later that day, authorities said.

Joshua K. Phillips, 20, of Newark was charged with creating a false public alarm, weapon possession and shoplifting, Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Union Police Director Daniel Zieser jointly announced.

Police responded to the Springfield Road and Route 22 Walmart around 10:45 a.m. on reports of a black man with a gun in an aisle -- leading to a full evacuation of the building, authorities said.

An investigation found that Phillips had taken a large air-soft gun out of its packaging, which he tossed somewhere else in the store, police said.

Union police released this photo of a man suspected of shoplifting a toy gun at a Walmart and sparking fears of a shooter Thursday morning.

Phillips turned himself in to Union police after seeing significant media coverage of the incident.

He was subsequently lodged in the county jail pending a first Superior Court appearance and detention hearing.

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