Update 1:47 p.m.: One of the police officers who confronted and arrested the woman suffered a minor injury on his leg when it was hit against the doorjam of a vehicle. He will be OK.
Original Post: A woman made a bomb threat inside the Monticello Marketplace T.J. Maxx in James City County on Wednesday night, according to police.
The James City County Police and Fire departments originally responded to the Martin’s grocery store, located in the same shopping center, for a report of child neglect around 5:35 p.m.
A witness reported seeing a woman, who was described as acting strangely, placing an infant against a tire underneath a delivery van, according to a news release from the police department. The witness confronted the woman, then picked up the child from beneath the tire. The woman began screaming “he will kill us, you must put him back.”
The woman tried to take the infant from him, but he would not allow her to take the child. He took it to his car, where he called 911.
The woman ran into the T.J. Maxx screaming the store would blow up in 29 seconds. She then ran to the back of the store and began climbing the shelves, repeatedly screaming the store would soon blow up, according to the release. Police officers who had responded to the child neglect call found the woman as she ran outside the store, where she began to undress.
Officers restrained the woman, a 26-year-old from Newport News, and placed her into custody. She is being hospitalized for medical and psychological examination. Charges are pending for making a bomb threat and three counts of child neglect.
Officers later learned the woman had been acting strangely in the Burger King, also located in the Monticello Marketplace Shopping Center, where she had been babysitting the infant, a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old. She left the 5- and 6-year-old alone in the Burger King before the incident in the Martin’s parking lot.
The woman, whose identity is not being released, is a family friend of the children, whose mother had asked her to babysit during her nearby hair appointment. The three children were not injured and went home with their mother.
Because the woman warned of a bomb, emergency responders evacuated the store to investigate a possible threat. The Newport News Fire Department Bomb Squad and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force assisted in a two-hour search for possible explosives. No explosives were found.
This article has been corrected. Incorrect information was provided.