“Local, state and federal officials continue to monitor this dangerous situation,” the department said.
Police said they received information that the plane was flying over the city around 5 am local time. According to the department, the pilot called 911 and “threatened to intentionally crash into the Wal-Mart on West Main.”
Police said they spoke directly with the pilot. Authorities were working to evacuate the Walmart and a nearby gas station and “disperse the population as is practical.”
“Citizens are asked to avoid the area until the all clear,” the Facebook post said. “With that type of aircraft movement, the danger zone is much larger than Tupelo.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said state law enforcement and emergency managers are also closely monitoring the situation.
“All citizens should be vigilant and aware of updates from the Tupelo Police Department,” Reeves said. Report.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said in an email that officials are aware of the situation and are coordinating with law enforcement.
Police said the plane could be a King Air plane, a 35 to 40-foot twin-propeller plane.
The Walmart targeted by the threats is located in a shopping center near the city’s downtown, near retail stores, gas stations and single-family homes. There is also an elementary school two blocks away.
Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said the store was closed and evacuated. “We are working closely with local investigators and referring questions to law enforcement,” he said.
“Not sure what’s going on but this plane has been flying circles around Tupelo for 45 minutes,” one user wrote.
Flight tracking information It showed what appeared to be the plane’s flight path. The pilot made several circles around Tupelo before flying 50 miles northwest and circling back into the Holly Springs National Forest. The aircraft is listed as a Beechcraft King Air 90 with less than 1,000 miles.
Records show the plane was last registered to Southeast Aviation in Oxford, and on Aug. 26 it made a round-trip flight from Tupelo to Garden City Regional Airport in southwest Kansas.
This is a developing story that will be updated.