UNION, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There was a panicked evacuation at a Walmart Thursday after a false alarm about a person with a gun inside.

Union police received two calls of someone with a gun in the store on Springfield Road just before 11 a.m.

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Employees huddled outside in the parking lot of the store off Route 22 moments after.


“We heard over our walkie talkies there was a guy in the store with a mask, with a weapon,” said employee Colleen Davis.

The weapon was allegedly a gun. Employees were tasked with getting customers out.

“They have a thing called Code Brown which is a shooter, and they said Code Brown,” said employee John Overall.

“And everybody run for their life,” said customer Max Pierre.

“We didn’t take no chances. We got out,” said employee Angelina Rosa.

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The Union County prosecutor says a 911 call was received about a shooter in the store, but no gun was found.

“What they saw appears to be a toy gun that was being stolen from Walmart,” said acting Union County prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo.

The prosecutor said the caller had also seen a warning on social media, but wouldn’t confirm if it’s the same viral Facebook message one shopper showed CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. It reads in part “Whatever you do this weekend, do not go to Walmart.” and claims different locations could be under a shooting threat.

Almost two weeks ago, a lone gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

“The first thing I thought about was El Paso, and you know it’s just sad. Sad,” said customer Darlene Marsh. “It could have happened up here, and look what happened, you know.”

Multiple agencies responded to the call, including the Joint Terrorism Task Force from the federal level.

The store reopened Thursday afternoon. Police won’t say whether anyone is in custody. The investigation is ongoing.

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Walmart employees in Union told CBS2 they watched a training video about to do in active shooter situation just a few weeks ago.