A Safeway worker in Bend, Oregon attacked a gunman shooting up the store and may have saved lives before the killer fatally shot him, authorities said Monday.
The gunman killed two people but the carnage may have been worse had the employee not accosted the gunman in an attempt to disarm him in the produce section of the store, police said at a news conference.
The 66-year-old employee, identified as Donald Ray Surrett Jr., of Bend, was hailed as a hero by police. Surrett and a customer, 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett, also of Bend, were killed Sunday evening. Two others were injured.
“Mr. Surrett engaged with the shooter, attempted to disarm him and may very well have prevented further deaths. Mr. Surrett acted heroically turning this terrible event,” Bend Police spokeswoman Sheila Miller said at a news conference as she struggled against tears.
The deadly shooting was one of three in the US over the weekend.
Police identified the Oregon gunman as 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller, who died by suicide in the shooting, police said. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
On Sunday night, Miller fired shots inside a central Oregon grocery store about 160 miles southeast of Portland, killing two people – a customer and an employee – and injuring two others.
Meanwhile, three other shootings across the US left eight people dead:
Here’s what we know about the fatal shootings.
How did chaos unfold at Safeway in Bend?
A man began firing shots in the parking lot of the Forum Shopping Center, in northeast Bend, around 7 pm Sunday, police said in a statement. The man entered Safeway’s west entrance and shot one person, who died on the way to a hospital. The gunman continued firing through the store, fatally shooting another victim.
Two more people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police say.
Josh Caba told local TV station KTVZ that he was with his four children when he heard multiple shots as he bought.
“I immediately turned to my children and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming,” Caba told the news outlet. “It was a horrifying experience.”
Molly Taroli, 40, told a local newspaper The Bulletin that she and her husband were shopping for dinner when the shooter sprayed shots through the store. Taroli said she took her own handgun from her purse de ella, and that employees yelled “go, go, go!” as they tried to help people escape, Taroli told The Bulletin.
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What do we know about the Safeway shooter?
Bend Police chief Mike Krantz said police immediately entered Safeway as shots were being fired. Police do not fire their weapons at the scene, he said.
Officers found the shooter dead near an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun. Police did not say how the gunman died, and he has not been identified.
A search of the gunman’s vehicle found three Molotov cocktails, a sawed-off shotgun, additional ammunition and “digital devices,” according to police. He had no criminal history in the area and it’s unclear how he obtained the firearms.
Statements from the shooter led police to request the Oregon State Police bomb squad, who cleared the Safeway and the shooter’s apartment, according to authorities.
Police are investigating whether the gunman may have posted online prior to the shooting; they said they had found no evidence of previous threats by the shooter.
Detroit: 3 dead in shooting spree, suspect arrested
In Detroit, three people were killed and a man was injured in a shooting spree early Sunday. Following an hourslong search Sunday, authorities arrested a man believed to be involved in the random shootings that began around 4:45 am
The victims were a 40-year-old woman, a 28-year-old man and another woman in her 40s, according to authorities. A 76-year-old man survived. Detroit Police Chief James White said tips led officers to the suspect. Investigators traced the shootings to the same firearm.
Houston: Man sets fire in apartment building, kills 3
In southwest Houston, authorities fatally shot a man Sunday who set an apartment building ablaze and shot five fleeing tenants.
The attack occurred around 1 am Sunday. The gunman had been evicted from the apartment, and police believe he used a shotgun to kill two people at the scene. Another victim died in a hospital. Two men were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Houston Chief Troy Finner said. No firefighters or officers were hurt, he said.
Phoenix: 2 dead, 2 officers hospitalized
In Phoenix, a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle fatally shot two people in a seemingly random attack Sunday night. Two officers were among five others injured, Phoenix police said in a statement Monday.
Nearby surveillance video showed the gunman leaving a motel room and shooting at random, the statement said. The shooter was seen firing into the motel before shooting into a car coming into the parking lot.
He fired shots at police arriving at the scene, authorities said. Surveillance footage showed him falling to the ground, and police say it appeared the gunman may have taken his own life from him.
Contributing: Sara Raza, Detroit Free Press; Associated Press
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