The man who shot and killed a gunman at the Tumwater Walmart on Sunday spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday, calling the incident "tragic and shocking."
David George teared up at a press conference in Oakville as he recounted events leading up to the shooting. Police say the gunman fired into two vehicles, stole a third and drove to Walmart, where he fired into a display case to get more ammunition, then shot another man in the parking lot.
George is a pastor at Oakville Assembly of God church and a volunteer EMT firefighter with the Grays Harbor Fire District 1, where he received active shooter training. He has a concealed-weapons permit and had his gun with him Sunday when he went shopping with his wife, daughter and granddaughter.
George said he was at the Walmart customer service desk when he heard shots in the back of the store.
“I was sure that what I heard was gunshots and I’m familiar … with how I should respond considering mine, my family’s and the public’s safety,” he told reporters.
George said he saw the suspect — later identified as Tim O. Day, 44, of McCleary — waving a gun in the air as he left the store. George said he followed Day to the parking lot and saw him shoot into a vehicle.
A 48-year-old man was shot twice and later flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He remained in critical condition as of Wednesday.
“When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman. He entered the vehicle, which I considered an even bigger threat, and I fired to stop the shooter,” George said.
Day exited the vehicle and fell to the ground.
George said he has been cleared of any wrongdoing. He had asked that his name not be released earlier to give police time to investigate and give him and his family time to process what happened.
On Wednesday, crime victim advocates, mental health workers and other organizations were at Tumwater City Hall to talk with people at the Walmart or otherwise affected by Sunday's violence.
Adam Sandy works at Walmart and told The Olympian he hid behind a car in the parking lot as the shooting unfolded. He came to City Hall with two of his coworkers. One of them was also working Sunday and said she recognized Day as a regular customer.
The store was closed Monday but reopened Tuesday.
Rick Mayo of Tenino came to City Hall with his wife, Gina Mayo. The couple said they saw Day shoot into vehicles during a carjacking on Tyee Drive before he went to Walmart, and that Day pointed the gun at them as they tried to drive away.
Rick Mayo said he usually carries a gun but didn’t have it with him Sunday.
“I have a concealed-weapons permit for a reason and I wasn’t carrying that day,” he said. “I will be carrying all the time now.”