COPY-Text warning of Wal-Mart shooting a rumor

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A phony text message that hit cell phones across Shreveport & Bossier City Wednesday night caused concern among those who got and saw the text.

The text message read "Shreveport & Bossier police are asking that no women go to Wal-Mart tonight. A possible gang initiation, three women will be shot. Please send this to all women."

But police on both sides of the river as well as Wal-Mart's corporate office in Bentonville, AR say the message is phony, and is apparently similar to previous mass-messaging campaigns.

After contacting Wal-Mart about the message, the company released the following statement: "The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority. We are aware of the message being circulated and are working with local authorities to enhance our security efforts at our stores in the area. While we take these types of situations seriously, we regard this as being only a rumor, much like similar rumors that have circulated via e-mail in previous years."

Shreveport and Bossier Police say they haven't gotten any information leading them to believe the message is anything but a rumor.

"The Shreveport Police Department has received no credible information concerning any concerted, organized criminal activity and has released no warnings or press releases regarding the possibility of such activity," said Shreveport Police Department Cpl. Bill Goodin. "It appears at this time that these rumors are possibly some type of "urban legend."

Bossier City Police Chief Mike Halphin echoed that sentiment. "The police department has learned that these messages have been surfacing in recent days in other parts of the country and law enforcement agencies have also found no credible threat. According to some sources, it appears similar threatening emails surfaced in 2005 from the Memphis, Tennessee. The Bossier City Police Department is vigilant in keeping the public safe and finds that these messages appear to be hoaxes."

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