WSFA 12 News debunks violence rumor

By Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As a rule, does not report rumors, but this time Montgomery police are asking for our help.

One rumor that's rampant in our area claims deadly violence will break out in the coming days at a local shopping center.  But it's simply not true.

It comes in the form of a text message or an e-mail, which says women and children will be shot and killed during a gang initiation at a local Wal-Mart or Target store, depending on which version of the message you receive.

Montgomery police captain Keith Barnett says, according to the city's gang unit, the message is a hoax. In fact, it is an urban legend that has been circulating for years.

It surfaced most recently in Montgomery and Selma. However, WSFA 12 News sister stations report similar rumors have circulated in cities like Memphis, Shreveport, Myrtle Beach and other locations.

The rumor is also going around in Arkansas, home of Wal-Mart's corporate office.  Company officials say there is no reason for customers to be alarmed.

In the meantime, Montgomery police say they welcome citizens who receive other possibly fraudulent messages in the future to forward them to police headquarters for investigation.