Police Search for Armed, Dangerous Suspect Near Rochester, NH Walmart

Stores inside the shopping center where New Hampshire police are searching for an armed and dangerous suspect in the woods have been evacuated.

"There were snipers that were going to be put on the roof," a witness said. "We've seen SWAT. We've pretty much seen everything."

Stacy Clement says her daughter is a cashier at the Walmart and was told to shelter in place for several hours.

"Yes, she's very safe," Clement said.

Out of an abundance of caution, police cruisers are blocking the entrances to the Ridge Marketplace Shopping Center, which is now closed.

"This could be a long night," police said.

Authorities have identified the suspect as Christopher L. Thomas, 27. Police say he is homeless.

A Walmart worker spotted him holding a rifle in the store's parking lot Sunday.

According to police, they received a report that a man, armed with a rifle, was seen in the rear parking lot of Walmart before disappearing into the woods. The man was later identified as Thomas, who is known to police and has three warrants for criminal threatening along with four warrants for theft.

Authorities believe he is in the woods behind Walmart and Market Basket along The Ridge development.

"I guess there's no harm inside, it's on the outside," Clement said.

No shots have been fired and no injuries have been reported, police said.

Thomas is described as a white male in his 20s with a beard. He is approximately 5'8" and 160 pounds.

The search for the suspect has prompted lockdowns of businesses along Farmington Road (Route 11), according to police. A Walmart employee told NBC10 Boston that the store was locked down due to an incident outside.

Workers and shoppers are safe inside the building, according to the Walmart employee.

Police stressed there was not an active shooter.

Residents are asked to avoid the area as police respond to the scene.

Stay with us as this story develops.

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