A call of an “active shooter” Monday afternoon at a Target store south of Chicago turned out to be a man causing a disturbance inside the store protesting the company’s policy on transgender people’s use of restrooms, police said Monday.
Michael L. Merichko, 39, of Bradley was charged with disorderly conduct after the incident just before 1 p.m. at the store, according to a release from police. Bradley is about 48 miles south of Chicago.
Police determined there was “no reason to believe he threatened anyone,” and are now trying to figure out why the emergency call came over as an active shooter, said Lt. Mike Johnston, a police spokesman.
When police were called to the store, Bradley officers and officers from several neighboring jurisdictions converged on the Target, according to a police news release. There, they found Merichko outside the store’s main entrance and took him into custody without incident, Johnston said.
When officers investigated, Johnston said they found out that Merichko “caused a disturbance inside” the store in protest of Target’s policy, announced in April, that it welcomes employees and customers to “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” according to the announcement.
“Merichko’s actions provoked a breach of the peace causing panic among store employees and customers,” according to the release.
But no one was injured, and no shots were fired in the disturbance, Johnston said.
“We are still looking into how the call came in as an active shooter,” police said in the release.
Merichko was being booked into the Kankakee County Jail, according to police.