Confrontations between anti-mask and pro-mask individuals continue to escalate across the U.S. as tens of thousands test positive daily and more local governments and retailers have issued mask requirements. In Florida, an unmasked man pulled a gun on a fellow shopper who asked him to put on a face covering in a Walmart, where masks will be mandatory starting on July 20.

The incident was caught on the store’s security footage and images from the video quickly went viral.

The unmasked man, who was pushing an elderly, masked individual in a wheelchair, reportedly gave the finger to the man who confronted him before pulling the gun he was openly wearing on his waistband and threatened to kill him in front of the young girl he was with. Thankfully, he did not pull the trigger and left the store without hurting anybody.

In response, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office posted the image of the maskless man to Facebook, asking for the public’s help in identifying him. According to a recent update, they were successful.

“The suspect has been identified and is cooperating with the investigation,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Teri Barbera told the South Florida SunSentinel. “The investigation is still open and active.”

Authorities did not release the man’s name or state if there were any charges being issued against him. However, he reportedly drove off in a white Chevrolet Equinox.

This story quickly became a national representation of what is being called a “culture war” between Trump supporters and other conservatives and more liberal individuals who are in favor of mask requirements. Although this incident didn’t end in direct violence, a Michigan anti-mask man stabbed a 77-year-old who asked him to put on a mask. The unmasked man, identified as Sean Ernest Ruis, was then killed by a responding police officer.

These incidents have people worrying that July 20 is going to be a scary day for Walmart shoppers and employees.


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*First Published: July 16, 2020, 1:02 pm