Man seen walking toward Walmart with apparent weapon prompts 911 calls, officials say

Sheriff's Office: Man stated he was trying to get people's reactions

NEW CANEY, Texas – Multiple 911 calls were made Thursday after a man was seen walking toward a Walmart with what appeared to be a gun, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at about 5:24 p.m. Thursday about three young males walking toward the Walmart in the 20300 block of U.S. Highway 59 in New Caney, with one of the males reportedly carrying what appeared to be an AR-style rifle on his back, officials said.

The Sheriff’s Office received additional 911 calls while deputies were en route to the Walmart, which advised that a man had a rifle on his back. Officials said deputies arrived and made contact with the man, who was wearing a tactical thigh holster, which appeared to hold a pistol, and a rifle on his back.

The man was identified by the Sheriff's Office as Matthew Woodrow, 18. Officials said Woodrow stated he brought his airsoft rifle -- which authorities said was a simulated AR-style rifle with no orange tip markings, indicating it was not a real firearm -- and his BB pistol to the Walmart as he was trying to get people's reactions to him walking around the store and parking lot while carrying a rifle and a handgun.

"The conduct of the male in conjunction with the recent mass shootings, specifically at locations such as this, caused alarm to the citizens shopping at that time and resulted in several persons fleeing the store," the Sheriff's Office stated in its release.

Officials said Woodrow was arrested for Class C disorderly conduct and was taken to the Montgomery County Jail, where he was booked and medically screened.

The Sheriff's Office shared the Texas statute in its release regarding Penal Code Chapter 42.01 Disorderly Conduct: "(a) (2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace."