1 Person Is Killed in Grocery Store Shooting at Richland Fred Meyer

A manhunt continued Monday night for a gunman who police say killed one person and seriously injured another at a grocery store in Richland, Washington, that morning, authorities said.

Officers responded just after 11 a.m. to reports of a shooting inside a grocery store Fred Meyer, Cmdr. Chris Lee of the Richland Police Department told reporters at the scene.

Commander Lee said authorities were looking for the shooter, who fled and was not found. Police circulated a photograph of a bearded man pushing a shopping cart. Police said they identified the shooter but did not release his name at a Monday news conference.

“We don’t know if he’s on foot or in a vehicle, but he’s still at large,” Commander Lee said.

It was unclear what led to the shooting or if the shooter was targeting anyone in particular.

However, he was seen on video conversing with a man he shot and killed, Commander Lee said. We didn’t know if they knew each other.

The other person who was shot, a store worker, was taken to hospital in critical condition, Commander Lee said.

“This is currently an active scene and we are asking individuals to avoid the area as the suspect has not been located at this time,” said Kenna Ladendorf, crime prevention specialist with the police department. of Richland, in an interview.

Officers from the Seattle Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on their way to assist Richland police in the investigation of the shooting, the agency said. A SWAT team was also on the scene, Commander Lee said.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Brigit Clary, acting chief of police for Richland, said all agencies involved had “an organized effort at this time to locate the suspect.”

“We are confident that we will locate the suspect as soon as possible,” she said.

All schools in the Richland School District were closed Monday afternoon because of the shooting, according to the school district’s website. Richland, a city of about 60,000 people, is in southeastern Washington.

Fred Meyer, a grocery chain founded in Portland, Oregon, is owned by the Kroger Company. In a statement, the company said it was “deeply saddened” by the shooting.

“We are cooperating with local law enforcement, who have secured the store and parking lot,” the company said. “The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have launched counseling services for our associates.”

It is unclear where in the store the shooting occurred. The Fred Meyer location in Richland is huge, with a bank, garden center, gas station, and several other offerings.

Store workers voted last fall to unionize after a contested two-year organizing effort.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Eric Renner, president of UFCW 1439, the union that represents store workers, said no one should have to worry about their safety in a store.

“Workers at our local grocery stores have encountered many safety issues over the past two years under Covid,” he said. “This tragic shooting is another shock for all of us.”

The shooting at the Fred Meyer store came after several fatal shootings at US grocery stores over the past year.

Last March, 10 people died after a 21-year-old man opened fire in the aisles of a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado. The following month, a store manager died and two people were injured in a shooting at a Stop & Shop. in West Hempstead, NY In June, a toddler and his grandmother were shopping at a Publix supermarket in Royal Palm Beach, Florida when they were shot dead by a 55-year-old man who later shot himself suicide.

Giulia Heyward and Patrick J. Lyons contributed report.