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'Shooter' at Target Just Unarmed Guy Protesting Store's Bathroom Policy

Police aren't sure why a shooting was reported
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2016 1:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police were called about an "active shooter" at a Bradley, Ill., Target Monday, but when they arrived, all they found was a man freaking out about the retail chain's decision to allow transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Michael L. Merichko, 39, was causing a disturbance inside the store, officers say, and he was charged with disorderly conduct. But police don't think he actually threatened anyone and are trying to determine why the incident was reported as an active shooting situation, the Chicago Tribune reports.

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Merichko’s protest of Target's policy "provoked a breach of the peace causing panic among store employees and customers," the police say in a press release, noting that, per CBS News, no gun was involved and no one was hurt. Per the Kankakee Daily Journal, Merichko has been railing against Target's policy online, and witnesses inside Target said he was yelling things like, "America is going to hell." Police found Merichko outside the store, and he was arrested without incident and booked into the Kankakee County Jail. (Read more Target stories.)

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