On 05/11/2023, the Ector County Sheriff's Office Dispatch received a 911 call from a subject requesting help at Walmart, located at 2450 NW Loop 338. The subject on the phone relayed that he was in some form of a crisis situation at that location. The Ector County Dispatcher did an excellent job in talking to the subject on the phone, despite a significant language barrier and confusing circumstances. At some point during this phone call, the subject on the phone relayed that he was armed with a gun. Once ECSO identified that the call was in the city, they relayed this information to the Odessa Police Department.
Law Enforcement officers from various agencies began responding to the scene. As officers responded, it was obvious that Walmart had become aware of the situation. Out of an abundance of caution and for the protection of their staff and customers, Walmart began an evacuation of the store.
Odessa Police Officers, Ector County Sheriff's Deputies, and Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers entered the store and began the process of locating the subject of this call. Officers worked with Walmart staff to isolate where the subject was inside of the store. A team of officers moved quickly and detained the subject inside without incident or injury. The officers found that he was indeed the initial caller. Furthermore, the officers found that he was in possession of a non-functioning BB gun. The BB gun was never displayed and there were no overt threats made to the business or any person.
After our investigation, we found that Raji Abdulazeez, 31, had been previously issued a Criminal Trespass Warning by Walmart for unrelated matters in the past. Abdulazeez was arrested and charged with Criminal Trespass, a Class B Misdemeanor. He is currently being held at the Ector County Law Enforcement Center. We have also requested the assistance from local metal health officials with this matter.
The Odessa Police Department would like to thank all of the West Texas Law Enforcement officers and supervisors that responded. All agencies acted as a team and resolved the situation quickly and efficiently. We would also like to thank the dispatchers from both Ector County and the City of Odessa for their communication and help. Finally, thank you to the management and staff at Walmart for their coordination with law enforcement and care for our citizens they displayed.