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Suicide threat causes Walmart lockdown

Police locked down the Walmart at Russell Cave and New Circle roads in Lexington for about two hours Tuesday afternoon as they defused a situation involving a suicidal man with a gun.

Rich Burnett, 24, of Bourbon County sat in a car in the fire lane between the two front doors of the store with a small semi-automatic handgun and a photograph, Cmdr.Lawrence Weathers said.

"As near as we can tell, he was distraught, and it was domestic-related," Weathers said. Burnett gave up the weapon about 6:30 p.m. He was taken to Eastern State Hospital for an evaluation.

An off-duty officer noticed Burnett with the gun and called police, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said

During the standoff, police allowed no one into the store, and no cars were allowed to enter or leave the parking lot. Meanwhile, rubbernecking caused traffic jams.

Police initially allowed no one to leave the store. Later, people were evacuated through the back; some were picked up by friends or relatives.

Marian Frye, who was in the store, said Walmart employees distributed water and peanut-butter crackers.

"All they said was that there was an emergency and that the police were asking us to go to the rear of the store," Frye said.

Spikes were set up in front of and behind Burnett's car so he could not drive away as negotiators talked with him by phone, and police were stationed on the store's roof.

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