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South Euclid police issue warning about social media induced violence

Police warn about social media induced violence
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 15:17:56-04

South Euclid police issued a warning about violence triggered by arguments on social media, after a fight broke out inside the Walmart on Warrensville Center Road.

South Euclid police officer Joe Di Lillo said 21-year-old Robert Watkins of Euclid had been arguing with a Walmart employee on Instagram, when hours later Watkins showed up at the store and started a fight at a checkout register.

The July 10 fight was caught on store surveillance video and continued at the front entrance of the store, and outside near the parking lot.

Police said the fight was triggered over an argument about a love relationship, and quickly escalated inside the store.

Di Lillo told says social media arguments that turn into real life violence are a major problem, and that residents should not take social media threats lightly.

"These threats should be reported to the police, like any other threat," said Di Lillo. "You have to send a message that this type of conduct is not welcome in our community, it's not welcome in our city, at our stores, at our businesses."

Watkins was arrested at the scene without incident and has been charged with assault, but Di Lillo said other charges, like criminal trespassing or inducing panic, are possible in these types of cases.