Armed bystander prevents potential mass shooting at Washington Walmart store by shooting dead assailant
An armed shopper at a busy Walmart in Tumwater, Washington shot dead a carjacker after the suspect opened fire in the parking lot of the store, saving many lives with his prompt response.
Two people, including a 16-year-old girl, were reported to be injured in the June 16 attack, before it was brought to a halt by the bystander.
The Tacoma News Tribune reported that authorities raced to the scene at 5 pm after reports of shooting near the Walmart. Police said that an armed man was attempting to carjack a vehicle from the parking lot after shooting at and wounding the driver.
The 16-year-old girl was attacked at a location nearby and she suffered from minor injuries. According to NW News Network, the driver of the car had to be airlifted to a hospital in Seattle after he was shot and is in critical condition.
The place where the incident occured, Turnwater, is 60 miles to the south of Seattle. The authorities have said that the incident began in the parking lot of a high school nearby. They were informed of a driver who was driving erratically near the Turnwater High School. While they were on their way to the location, they heard reports that a carjacking was taking place and that there were shots that were fired at an intersection.
Police officers then saw a stolen vehicle and then a chase began which ended at the Walmart. The carjacker allegedly got out of the stolen vehicle and then tried to steal another car in the parking lot of the store. He shot the driver of the car before he was finally shot and killed by the armed bystander.
According to witnesses at the scene, around 10 shots were fired at the location. An eyewitness to the entire shooting in Walmart, Darren Gossler, posted a series of tweets describing what happened.
"I ran out a side emergency entrance and tried to run to my car but it sounded like the guy came out into the parking lot and was firing so I ran across the street. Cops f*****g everywhere. Heard about 6 shots fired inside. 4 more shots in the parking lot. I'm in the Costco parking lot now. Waiting for the cops to give the clear so I can get my car and go home. F**k man."
"At least two people shot I've heard. One in the parking lot shortly after I saw him. Maybe one more in the store. Sounds like they might have got the shooter. That will teach me for giving up on the Mariners and leaving early and going to Walmart. Kudos to @Costco for coming out here and giving us all free bottled water."
After getting a lot of comments from other Twitter users about the incident, Gossler tweeted: "For the reporters and news outlets contacting me, I'm not going to respond to all of them. Here's my account: 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."
"So to recap my week. Bowled my best game in years, got an 11% raise, watched some the Mariners win a bunch of games and survived a public shooting. Alrighty.#"
Gossler said that he had given his witness statement to the authorities and went home after an eventful day.
In a similar incident, a man became an internet hero when he stopped a naked gunman in a Tennessee Waffle House on April 22, from massacring a number of customers.
Travis Reinking killed four people and injured seven others when he opened fire at the food outlet in Antioch before James Shaw Jr. accosted him and made him flee the scene. Reinking, who is from Morton, Illinois, was arrested the next day.
Police identified the four people who were killed in the shooting spree: 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C. Sanderlin from Goodlettsville, 20-year-old Joe R. Perez from Nashville, 23-year-old Akilah Dasilva also from Nashville, and 21-year-old Deebony Groves from Gallatin, Tennessee.
Of the victims from the incident, Sanderlin and Perez were shot dead outside the restaurant, Dasilva was wounded critically inside the restaurant and died at a later time at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Groves was shot and killed inside the restaurant.
According to reports, the gunman was only wearing a green jacket while holding the assault rifle when he started firing away in the parking lot of the Waffle House outlet before he stormed into the restaurant and started shooting there.
Shaw Jr. who stopped the gunman from taking more lives, said that he was only trying to stay alive when he tackled Reinking, grabbed the rifle and threw it over the counter of the restaurant. On April 22 morning, he said in a press conference with tears in his eyes: "I'm not a hero, I'm just a regular person."
"I think anybody could have did what I did if they're just pushed in that kind of cage. You have to either react or you're going to fold and I chose to react because I didn't see any other way of me living, and that's what I wanted to do, I wanted to live."
According to Don Aaron, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Reinking had reached the parking lot of Waffle House at 3.19 am and he sat in his pick-up truck for almost three to four minutes just staring at people inside the restaurant.
He was reportedly completely naked aside from a green jacket. The gunman then opened fire at 3:25 am with an AR-15 assault-style rifle. Reinking's green jacket and two magazines of ammunition were found later. Aaron said: "He clearly came armed with a lot of firepower intending to devastate the south Nashville area."
Shaw Jr. said in the press conference that he and a friend were at a club before they decided to go somewhere to get food. The Nashville native is an employee at AT&T and has a four-year-old daughter.
The Waffle House that he and his friend went to initially was too full so they drove just two miles to the one where the incident took place. Shaw Jr. said that he saw Reinking sitting inside his truck as he was walking into the restaurant. Shaw Jr. said that when Reinking fired the first shots outside, he thought that a stack of plates had fallen to the ground.
He added: "Then the second one happened, then the third one happened, and I saw the Waffle House employees scatter and I saw a person lying on the ground at the entrance of the door."
The father-of-one had tried hiding behind the swivel door when the gunman was entering the restaurant. "He shot through that door and it grazed my arm. That's when I made up my mind - if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me."
Shaw Jr. then found the opportune moment when he saw that Reinking was "trying to reload". "I ran through the swivel door, hit him with the swivel door, and the gun was kind of jammed up and pushed down so we were scuffling."
"I managed to get him with one hand on the gun and I grabbed it from him and threw it over the counter."
The father said that he did not feel the searing heat of the barrel when he grabbed the assault rifle from Reinking. After he threw the weapon over the counter, he pushed Reinking out of the restaurant.
Reinking ran away and Shaw Jr. said in the press conference that he did not follow him because he was afraid that the gunman would have another gun. Moments after Reinking fled, Shaw Jr. hailed two passing drivers to call 911. He also said that he was sorry he could not save more people.