BEND, Ore. (AP) — Terrified shoppers and employees fled for safety when a gunman entered a Safeway supermarket in Bend, Oregon, “spraying shots" from an assault rifle, killing two people, police said.
Police officers found the gunman, whose name has not been released, dead “in close proximity" to an AR-15-style weapon and a shotgun inside the Safeway supermarket, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said during a Sunday night news conference.
The shooter fired shots in the parking lot of the Forum Shopping Center in the central Oregon city at about 7:04 p.m., and multiple people called 911, he said.
Molly Taroli, 40, was shopping for dinner with her husband when the shooter starting “spraying shots," she told The Bulletin newspaper.
Taroli told the newspaper she took her own handgun from her purse, as employees yelled, “go, go, go!” as they tried to help people flee the store.
Josh Caba, another shopper in the store, t old KTVZ he was with his four children when he heard multiple shots.
“I immediately turned to my children and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming,” Caba told the news outlet. “It was a horrifying experience.”
Heather Thompson, who was across the street from the shopping center, told the Central Oregon Daily that she heard multiple shots.
“I heard anywhere from five to eight shots. I thought it sounded like backfire,” Thompson said. “Less than a minute later, there were 10 to 20 shots and then another 10 to 20 shots. And by that time, I went inside and told my dad to get away from the window. And people were running out of Safeway.”
Krantz, the police chief, said the shooter shot one person in the store's entrance. That person was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
The shooter continued firing inside the store, fatally shooting another person, the chief said.
Police entered the supermarket “still hearing shots," Krantz said. They did not fire any shots, he said, adding that they found an AR-15 style rifle and another shotgun near the deceased shooter.
Krantz did not identify the shooter or the victims. He said multiple agencies are working together on the investigation.
“This will take along time to collect evidence,” Krantz said. “We know this is a frightening thing for our community.”
In a tweet, Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley offered his condolences to the victims' families and to “the many people whose routine Sunday evening shopping turned into a terrifying run for their lives."
Bend is a city of about 97,000 approximately 160 miles (257 kilometers) southeast of Portland, Oregon.