Last night police apprehended a naked man running through the Warwick Wal-Mart in the former Rhode Island Mall.
Brittany Wardell, a West Warwick resident, was waiting in the check out line at the store around 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening when she heard a man yelling.
She looked towards the front of the store to see a man who was later identified as Michael Ray tearing off his clothes, first his shirt and then his pants. Ray proceeded to walk towards the check out area where he stood screaming. He then removed his underwear.
Another man approached the screaming, naked Ray, urging him to calm down. Ray then began to run around the store, still screaming.
“You could hear him screaming all around the store,” said Wardell. “I didn’t want to make eye contact with him because I didn’t want him to eat my face, like that guy in Florida.”
An intercom announcement told all customers to move to the front of the store.
Wardell said Ray's screams got louder as he made a loop around the store and approached the check out area. She watched him run out the front door of the Wal-Mart, and many customers followed to watch where the man went.
Ray hopped over a guardrail and into the Pawtuxet River, behind the Rhode Island Mall. After swimming across the river, he made his way to Rt. 295 where police finally apprehended him. He is now at Kent Hospital. Reports say Ray, a recent graduate of URI with a second degree, suffers from bi-polar disorder, and may have been off his medication.
“I was panicked,” said Wardell. “A little scared. You get into survivor mode. I was watching him because if he was going to walk through one of the aisles, I put my cart sideways so I could block my boyfriend and myself from him.”