20-year-old shooter killed an elderly customer and employee of a Safeway store, then killed himself in a shooting Sunday night, police said Monday.
The employee, Donald Ray Surrett Jr., 66, encountered the shooter in the back of the store in the produce section and attempted to disarm him, police spokeswoman Sheila Miller said.
She described the worker as “a hero” who likely saved other people. She said the customer was Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, of Bend, who was killed at the west entrance of the store at the popular Forum shopping centre.
Police identified the shooter as Ethan Miller and said he lived in the Fox Hollow apartments at the back of the mall.
Officers had arrived at the scene minutes after receiving 911 calls shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday and rushed into the store within a minute as gunfire continued, police said.
They found the shooter dead inside with an AR-15 type rifle and a shotgun nearby.
The shooter allegedly walked into the mall from a nearby residential area, walked through the Costco parking lot in the plaza, then drove to a Safeway entrance, where he allegedly shot his first victim, the police chief said. Mike Krantz.
He then shot the worker. Two other people were injured, police said.
Molly Taroli, 40, was shopping for dinner with her husband when the shooter started ‘spraying shots’, she said The bulletin newspaper.
Taroli said she pulled her own handgun from her purse, as employees shouted, “Come on, come on, come on!” as they tried to help people flee the store.
Another customer at the store, Josh Caba, told KTVZ he was with his four children when he heard multiple gunshots.
“I immediately turned to my children and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming,” Caba told the outlet. “It was a horrible experience.”
Governor Kate Brown offered her condolences.
“I ask all Oregonians to keep the victims of last night’s shooting in Bend and their families in your thoughts and in your hearts today,” she said in a statement. “Every Oregonian should be able to go to a grocery store without fear of gun violence.”
Oregon State Police are also working with Bend police on the investigation, she said. The FBI is also working on the investigation.
“Last night’s shooting was one of many in Oregon this weekend,” Brown said. “The families of these victims will be forever affected by these senseless acts. All Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.
The head of the union representing Safeway grocers said he was “sorry to see American workers again facing the unthinkable”.
“In retail spaces, gun violence is becoming increasingly common,” UFCW Local 555 President Dan Clay said in a statement. Retail workers should not come to work in the face of violence and deserve more protection than our society has chosen to offer them.
Safeway employee Jake Daniels told the Bulletin he heard three gunshots followed by six more. After the first shots, he started grabbing people and running out of the doors of the store.
Three months ago, a white gunman killed 10 black people at Buffalo’s Tops Friendly Market, including a customer who had just volunteered at a food bank and another who was caring for her husband in his retirement home. Most of the May 14 shooting victims were in their 50s and older.
Last September, a gunman attacked a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, a suburban community 30 miles east of Memphis, killing one, injuring more than a dozen people, and then killing himself.
Bend Pro-Tem Mayor Anthony Broadman rushed to the US 20 mall in East Bend when he heard the news and then stood with the police chief as Krantz described what happened earlier that night. The popular center is also home to a Big Lots and Old Navy store.
The realization that a mass shooting had hit the town of 100,000 was “shocking” and “horrifying”, he said, and yet somehow eerily predictable.
“It’s the gun culture we’ve allowed ourselves to live in,” he said Monday. “Our little town here in the mountains is in mourning.”
Broadman said he was impressed with the coordination between local police, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, state troopers and federal agents who quickly secured the scene of the shooting and then dispersed to ensuring surrounding areas were safe as callers reported a possible second shooter. Police found no other shooters.
Broadman said he spoke by phone with the governor and garnered an outpouring of support from other mayors in the state. He later learned that a friend of his was inside the grocery store at the time of the shooting but was not injured.
“Today is a day to mourn and mourn and reinvigorate our efforts to ensure Bend is a safe place to live,” he said. “Because right now it doesn’t feel that way. You can’t go shopping, you can’t go to church, you can’t go to school, and that’s unacceptable.
Broadman said the shooting would affect generations of residents, including many children, recalling how he learned as a child that someone had once shot his father.
But he said the Safeway shooting would not disrupt city functions, including a homelessness forum scheduled for Monday night. A community vigil was also scheduled for later Monday.
“It’s a very dark day for Bend and a dark night,” he said. “There’s a lot of trauma in this big family right now.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
— Oregon journalist Zane Sparling and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
— Savannah Eadens; email@example.com; 503-221-6651; @savannaheadens
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