Police: Mystery customer's actions helped prevent a tragedy

A Prescott woman is behind bars, accused of plotting to kill her co-workers at a Wal-Mart and burn the store down after a work dispute.

Prescott Police say 24-year-old Ebonice Johnson arrived at the Wal-Mart around 6:30 a.m. Saturday with a rifle, ammunition, a knife and a blow torch. She failed three times to carry out her plan.

Now police are looking for a mystery customer who reported the woman's suspicious activity and whose actions likely helped prevent a larger tragedy.

These two people randomly crossed paths at the Wal-Mart store early Saturday morning. Police say Johnson was there, reportedly to kill her co-workers at the store. The customer -- an unknown man, was integral in helping police stop Johnson.

"I feel sad because someone feels so badly that they felt this was the only way they had to solve their problems," said a Wal-Mart customer.

Ironically, police say Johnson was considered a good employee, until she snapped.

"She had confronted them because she felt they were not working as hard as she was working, so she was frustrated with the behavior of others around her," said Amy Bonney of the Prescott Police Department.

Police say Johnson had a .22 caliber rifle, but she was unsuccessful in loading the gun with ammo. She then took out her knife, but dropped it and couldn't find it in the dark. Finally, she took out a blow torch, but was unsuccessful in setting the store on fire.

"Even up to the point she was apprehended, she was very clear at expressing her intentions to die at the hands of police officers," said Bonney.

Prescott police say it was a mystery customer who noticed Johnson acting strange. He went inside and notified a manager, who called the police. Now police want to find this mystery hero.

"We're just thankful he went out of his way to make this situation known and quite likely changed the outcome of it for everybody," said Bonney.

"I think it was wonderful.. because of that person, they called in time, so the police didn't have to use force," said a Wal-Mart customer.

Police are hoping the mystery witness will come forward. Investigators would like to speak with him about the incident.

Meanwhile, Johnson is now facing attempted homicide charges.