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VERIFY: Police say social media posts warning of racial attacks at a Bowie Walmart are false

Warnings that circulated via text message and became viral on social media, claim that racially targeted threats were made at Maryland stores.

BOWIE, Md. — Eleven viewers sent the Verify team a disturbing claim that centers on threats of racial violence at places like Walmart and Target stores.

"Is it true that the Walmart and Target stores in mostly Black neighborhoods have been receiving death threats about killing Black people in these stores?" one viewer emailed. "I received two text messages from two people who don’t know each other about the same story? Please verify."

The viral warning comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at Tops grocery store in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.


Do these viral warnings align with what local police departments are hearing?


  • Bowie Police Department- tweets and statement
  • Prince George's County Police Department- spokesperson
  • Charles County Sheriff's Office- spokesperson


This is false.


Our researchers saw two similar versions of the warning circulating.

One version claimed that two white men were caught attempting to kill Black people inside a Bowie Walmart, and that the men were apprehended by an officer. 

A meme of this warning was also shared by the Instagram account "theDMVdaily," which has nearly 85,000 followers. As of the time of this writing, the post has been removed.

Credit: Instagram/theDMVdaily
This screengrab was taken at 2:02pm on May 26. However the original post is no longer available.

Another version of the warning claims that there have been reported threats to "kill all Black people" inside Walmart and Target stores in places like Bowie, Largo, Clinton, Lanham, Waldorf, Forestville. The warning says people should stay away from Walmart and Target stores in those areas.

SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT: This has been sent to me by too many people, so now I'm alarmed and passing on the...

Posted by Temisan Shebi on Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Credit: WUSA
This screenshot of a text message warning of racially motivated threats of violence at Prince George's County stores, was sent to VERIFY by a viewer.

Our researchers got information from police departments for Bowie and Prince George's County, as well as the Charles County Sheriff's office.

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Bowie Police said they're aware of the social media posts, however, there was no call for service at the Walmart in Bowie. 

"The Bowie Police Department is aware of social media posts referencing suspicious individuals in trench coats at the Walmart (3300 Crain Hwy., Bowie, Maryland) on Tuesday, May 24, 2022," the agency said via Twitter. "No call for service was ever made regarding an incident such as this. Bowie Officers were at the Walmart location throughout the day on May 24, 2022, and the store was thoroughly checked. No persons matching the descriptions of unknown white male individuals in trench coats were observed. Store management also confirmed to officers on scene that no individuals matching these descriptions were observed."

A spokesperson for Prince George’s County said that at this time, they are not aware of any threats in the county. A Charles County Sheriff's Office agreed, "we haven't found anything."

So we can verify, according to police, these claims are false. Police are encouraging people to reach out if they see anything.

The Bowie Police Department said people should contact them "if you actually witnessed this suspicious activity or have factual information." The number to call is (240)-544-5700.

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