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Las Vegas Walmart spraying suspect sought YouTube fame, police say

Updated March 16, 2020 - 6:52 pm

The man who sprayed an unknown substance in a southwest valley Walmart while wearing a protective hazmat suit on Saturday night allegedly did it because he wanted to be famous on social media, according to his arrest report.

Aldo Gonzalez, 23, was arrested on charges of burglary and dispersing a hoax substance after police identified him as the suspect, according to the report.

Police said they got a call around 8:20 p.m. saying that a man had walked into the Walmart at 7200 Arroyo Crossing Way wearing a hazmat suit and was “spraying an unknown substance in the food aisle and throughout the store,” the report said. The caller said the man had left the store in a grey Ford sedan, and they gave police the license plate number.

Officers responded to the store and talked to seven customers and eight employees who had been exposed to the substance Gonzalez sprayed.

One witness, Sakisat Raylyn, said she saw Gonzalez spraying a cart and, when she asked what he was doing, he sprayed the substance on her hand.

“Due to the suspect’s actions and mode of dress, especially in the current environment of the coronavirus pandemic, he caused alarm in the store amongst the employees and customers,” the report said. “Because of the suspect’s actions, the Walmart had to evacuate the entire store.”

No one was taken to the hospital, the report said.

Police were able to track down Gonzalez’s car and locate him at his parents’ home. Officers said it looked like Gonzalez was filming them, and he “was verbally confrontational with officers and did not want to answer any questions,” the report said.

Gonzalez told police that he was only spraying water, but refused to answer any other questions without a lawyer present.

Police interviewed Gonzalez’s parents, who said their son had asked them for a spray bottle earlier but weren’t sure why. His father also said Gonzalez and another boy had gone to Walmart, but he didn’t know how long they were there or why they went, the report said.

As they took Gonzalez into custody, officers said they saw the boy standing on a balcony, recording them with his phone, the report said. When they talked to the boy, he told them Gonzalez “wants to be famous through Instagram and YouTube by making funny videos,” according to the report.

He said Gonzalez wore a “white painter’s suit instead of an actual hazmat suit because an actual hazmat suit would be too serious,” and he put water in an empty bottle of Fabulous cleaner, the report said. Gonzalez put on the painter’s suit, goggles, a dust mask and latex gloves and began spraying items at Walmart while the boy filmed it on his cellphone, the report said.

The boy denied that Gonzalez sprayed anyone directly, according to the report.

Officers searched Gonzalez’s car and found the white painter’s suit, goggles, gloves and spray bottle that the boy had described.

Police said they took a sample from inside the spray bottle and they were unable to confirm what exactly Gonzalez was spraying, but they do not think it was a chemical.

“It will not be known exactly what the substance is; however presumptive tests taken at the scene indicated the unknown substance had a neutral pH and did not appear to contain any chemicals, proteins or bio-organisms,” the report said. “Based on the presumptive tests, it did not appear the substance was any type of chemical or biological agent.”

Since the boy told police the videos were intended for social media, officers got search warrants for his and Gonzalez’s phones and a laptop. The searches had not been completed as of Monday afternoon.

Gonzalez is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $5,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Contact Alexis Egeland at aegeland@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexis_egeland on Twitter.

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