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Gun fires in Walmart
Walmart shooting5.jpg
Police and emergency responders were on the scene Friday around 4:30 p.m. after a gun accidentally discharged inside McMinnville’s Walmart. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

The normal hustle and bustle at McMinnville’s Walmart was interrupted by gunfire on Friday around 4:30 p.m. 

“Initially, I didn’t know what the sound was,” said Justin Hillis, a T-ROC employee working in the electronics department at the time. “There’s a lot of background noise in Walmart all the time. It was a pop. I knew it wasn’t a balloon.”

According to McMinnville Police Department Lt. Lisa Norris, the pop was the sound of a 9mm discharging in a fitting room after falling from the pocket of Robert Harris, 28.

“Mr. Harris accidently shot himself in the back of the leg,” said Norris.

Harris was transported to Saint Thomas River Park Hospital and then airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center. His condition is unknown. 

Hillis expressed shock as to how the weapon was being carried. 

“Why wasn’t it in a holster?” he asked. “You know, that thing that keeps it safely in place and prevents it from falling and accidently discharging? Police officers use them. I guess that’s the difference between someone trained to carry a gun and someone who just wants to carry one for the heck of it. He could have killed someone. I’m not in favor of taking people’s guns, but situations like this prove that we might need some restrictions.” 

No charges are pending.