Suspect identified following suspicious incident at Eufaula Walmart

STEVE TOMS MURDER TRIAL: Seafood isle turns into a nightmare
Eufuala Walmart. (Source: Viewer Submission)
Eufuala Walmart. (Source: Viewer Submission)
Shoppers and employees outside of the Walmart in Eufaula. (Source: Viewer submission)
Shoppers and employees outside of the Walmart in Eufaula. (Source: Viewer submission)
(Source: Viewer submission)
(Source: Viewer submission)

EUFAULA, AL (WTVM) - Stephen Becker, 32, of Suwanee, GA has been detained and a store has been reopened after a suspicious incident involving a convicted felon at the Eufaula Walmart Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at the Walmart, located at 3176 S. Eufaula Ave., in Eufaula.

In an interview with News Leader 9's Tesia Reed, Eufaula Police Chief Ralph Conner said Becker is in police custody at this time. It is still unclear what the motive is, but there were no injuries during the incident. The store reopened at 12:10 p.m. CT, after being closed for nearly four hours.

Despite previous reports, no shots were fired or exchanged during this incident, according to police.  

Conner said that Eufaula Police got a call from Georgia law enforcement authorities at 9:15 a.m. about a stolen Ford Explorer located at the Walmart. When units responded to the scene and found the SUV, they also found the suspect with it.

Once Becker was detained, he told police that he was not acting alone. Becker, according to Conner, gave the name and information of a person who is in Conyers, GA at the time of his detainment. Becker also stated the person was violent and had bragged about a recent killing.

"My understanding is that the man was coming out of the car, the person was detained and identified I don't have his info right now, there were firearms in the car," Conner said. "That person provided details that he was riding with another person and he gave us a name, a specific name and said that person was inside Walmart hiding from us with a handgun for fear of being apprehended."

Becker was confirmed as a felon in possession of a handgun. Police then took emergency security measures by locking down the Walmart, and clearing the premises twice with SWAT team and K9 units before discovering the suspect was not in the store.

He is now being charged with first-degree receiving stolen property. Charges related to possession of the firearm by a felon may be forthcoming, but it will be coordinated with his parole authorities.

"We think, at this time, the description is going to be fictitious and the person caught with the vehicle was actually acting alone, but he is a convicted felon, he says he's on parole, and he was in control of a handgun," Conner said. "The person that was identified as being in Walmart was actually determined to be in another part of Georgia during this time, not even here. We don't know if there was a second person in Walmart so we did a tactical operation to clear for public safety."

Conner says they executed a plan they've practiced and it worked well, but it took the help of multiple agencies for it to work including: Alabama State Parks, Wallace Community College, Alabama State Troopers, ALEA, a helicopter from Dale County, and Houston and Henry County law enforcement agencies.

The school made an alert at 10:14 a.m. CT saying the shooter has been apprehended and that campus is reopened to normal activities.

The first alert was made at 9:53 a.m., saying: "Active shooter has been located at the Wal-Mart in Eufaula. Sparks Campus will be locked down immediately until further notice."

The second alert the school made to students, faculty and staff came at 9:57 a.m. on Tuesday, saying: "Be advised that The Eufaula Police Department has requested that the Sparks Campus be placed in lockdown mode until further notice. An ACTIVE SHOOTER situation exists in the WalMart shopping center. WCC Officer Richard Thornton will direct security operations for the Campus. THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE DANGER TO FACULTY, STAFF, OR STUDENTS." 

Check back for more updates.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.