Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local Newscast
Hear the latest from the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom.

Hammond Police Arrest Man Who Drove Vehicle Into Target, Dropped Suspicious Packages

Hammond Square Mall is closed after police say a man drove his vehicle through the front doors of Target and dropped a suspicious device inside the store.

The man, 41-year-old Walter Allbritton III, is currently in police custody. Police say they have not yet determined whether the device is an explosive.

Initial reports described the situation as an “active shooter,” but, at a press conference this afternoon, Hammond Police Chief Edwin Bergeron said the individual was unarmed.

According to Bergeron, Allbritton, drove his car through the front doors of Target, dropped the device on the ground and exited through a side door. In the parking lot, he attempted to carjack someone but was unsuccessful. Police pursued him on foot and he was quickly arrested. They did not fire their weapons and no one was seriously injured.

Bergeron said the man dropped additional devices at a nearby Dollar General and Sanderson Farms and that he had a fourth device on his body when he was arrested.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Louisiana State Police Bomb Squad are currently assessing whether the devices are explosives.

The mall area has been completely evacuated. Police are investigating the scene as well as each of the sites where devices were dropped.

Police believe Allbritton, a resident of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, acted alone, but are “not 100 percent positive.”

“I believe that our citizens are safe,” Bergeron said. “I believe that we have it contained.”

Police are unsure when the mall will reopen.

Copyright 2021 WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Aubri Juhasz is the education reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was a producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She helped lead the show's technology and book coverage and reported her own feature stories, including the surge in cycling deaths in New York City and the decision by some states to offer competitive video gaming to high school students as an extracurricular activity.