An armed man is dead and two others are injured after a shooting at the Walmart in Tumwater about 5 p.m.
Laura Wohl, spokeswoman for the Tumwater Police Department, said an adult man who had been shot was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was shot while the armed suspect tried to carjack his vehicle, Wohl said.
A person with his own weapon shot the suspect outside Walmart. That man was still on the scene about 7 p.m. and was being interviewed by law enforcement.
It is not clear whether the shooter ever entered the store, despite customers’ reports that he had, Wohl said. It also was not clear whether shots were fired inside the store, she said. It’s possible customers heard a gun being fired outside. Police do know no one inside the store was injured.
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The incident began as a report of a drunken driver in the area of Israel Road and Tyee Drive near the Toyota dealership. People reported a driver was driving in the wrong direction in the vicinity. When police arrived, they couldn't find the vehicle.
They then responded to shots fired in the area of the nearby roundabout, Wohl said. They learned that a man had fired shots trying to carjack two vehicles.
A 16-year-old girl was injured, but not seriously. The suspect then headed to Walmart, Wohl said.
When they arrived at the Walmart, they learned that a man had tried to carjack a car, and shot a man inside the car twice. He then tried to carjack another car. Two citizens in the parking lot drew weapons; at least one of them shot and killed the armed man, she said.
Darren Gossler of Elma was in the store when the shooting started. He tweeted: “I was in the dairy section. Heard about 5 or 6 pops. Ran out a side emergency exit and attempted to run to my car in the parking lot but heard 4 more pops in the lot. Caught a quick glimpse of a male with what appeared to be a handgun. Ducked under some cars and ran to Costco.”
Caitlyn Wallner of Tenino was standing in the self-checkout line. She heard, "pop, pop, pop," but thought something heavy had fallen onto the floor. Then she looked at an older gentleman in the store who said, "There's a guy shooting. Everybody run!"
She didn't think it was real at first, but the gunshots kept happening, Wallner said. She fled the store, but had dropped everything, including her car keys. She eventually found a woman in her car near the parking lot exit and banged on the door to help. The woman let her get in the car, Wallner said.
"Just drive, please drive," she told the woman. Wallner said as she ran out of the store she heard more shots.
Kailani Bailey, 19, of Lacey also was inside the Walmart grocery shopping when a tall man in a gray T-shirt and jeans sprinted into the building, shoving people out of the way and shouting “Move, move!”
“I thought that was weird,” she told The Olympian.
Then, moments later, she heard a “pop, pop, pop” coming from what she said was the other side of the store, and she said everyone froze. “Then somebody yelled ‘Run, run!’ and everyone took off,” Bailey said. “When I got outside, I heard more pop, pop, pop.”
Bailey said she got over to her car, but knew she wouldn’t be able to get out of the parking lot because many people were trying to flee. That’s when she said she saw the tall man in the gray T-shirt come out the front door of the store and start trying to get into a series of parked cars.
When she was able to move her car, she came upon a woman who had run out of the store but couldn’t find her car. She was hiding on the ground crying. Bailey said she told the woman to get into her car and they escaped to a nearby car wash.
She said about that time the neighboring Costco store started evacuating its customers.
“I’m glad I was able to help that woman, but I wish I could have helped more,” Bailey told The Olympian.