RICHLAND — Authorities are searching for a man who opened fire Monday at a grocery store in Washington, killing one person and injuring another.
The suspect in the shooting at a Fred Meyer store in Richland was described as a middle-aged white man with a handgun. He is believed to have fled the store after the shooting, though it was not known he left by foot or in a vehicle, Richland police Commander Chris Lee said. Police said Monday afternoon they had identified the suspect but didn’t release the person’s name. The suspect has had contact with law enforcement in the past, police said.
Dispatchers received a call reporting yelling and possible gunshots in the store at 11:03 a.m. The first officers responding arrived just one minute later, police said.
Authorities confirmed one person died and another was taken to a hospital with injuries. Both were described as white males. The person wounded is a store employee who was taken to a hospital, was undergoing surgery and was listed in critical condition, police said Monday afternoon.
The suspect and the victim who died had an interaction before the shooting, according to store video footage seen by police. Police said they don’t know what the apparent conversation entailed and don’t know if the two people knew each other. The person who died was not a store employee, according to police.
Screenshots from store surveillance footage showed the suspect was wearing a plaid shirt with a dark-colored down vest, a black gaiter or scarf pulled over his nose, light-colored pants and athletic shoes, the Tri-City Herald reported.
Employees and customers were escorted out of the store to a parking lot while officers went aisle by aisle searching for the shooter or other victims.
Fred Meyer officials said in a statement on Twitter they were deeply saddened and cooperating with law enforcement.
“The entire Fred Meyer Family offers our thoughts, prayers, and support to all affected individuals and families during this difficult time, and we have initiated counseling services for our associates,” the statement said.
Richland is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. It’s part of the Tri-Cities area, which includes Kennewick and Pasco and has a combined population of more than 280,000.
Police and sheriff’s deputies from across the Tri-Cities were called to help, and schools were placed on a partial lockdown.