There is nothing unusual about police being called to the Cleveland Wal-mart, since the store is the frequent target of shoplifters. However, the Cleveland Police Department has been called twice in as many weeks because of violence.
On Monday, January 17 just before four o'clock, Officer Kevin Cooke was dispatched to Wal-mart with no details given. Cooke had just exited his patrol car when a man approached him and pointed out two white males entering the store. The man advised Cooke that they were carrying knives. Cooke followed the men into the store and saw them join two women who were already in a checkout line.
The officer approached the suspects and asked them to step outside. Once outside, Cooke asked if they had knives and one admitted he did, voluntarily relinquishing the weapon. When asked their ages, the suspects told Cooke they were seventeen and sixteen.
Cooke was then approached by fifty-seven year old Salvador Garcia, who said his encounter with the suspects was the reason the officer had been called. Garcia said he was shopping in the back of the store when he saw the pair, who he recognized as his neighbors. He said the seventeen year old, later identified as William Casey Lingle, had called him by a profane name. Garcia said he then approached the two and advised them that they should 'be careful', which is when Lingle allegedly took a knife from his front pants pocket and threatened him with it.
One witness says a large crowd gathered but no one tried to intervene until the mother of one of the two suspects saw what was happening. The mother then allegedly approached Garcia apologizing profusely.
Garcia agreed to make a sworn statement and Lingle was arrested. Lingle later posted bond and was released. Both men were from Splendora. No information is available on the juvenile suspect.