By Malaika Kanaaneh Tapper
Two people were killed and at least four others were wounded Saturday after a gunman drove his SUV into a Northern California Walmart distribution center before opening fire on workers during a shift change.
A gunman carrying an “AR-type weapon” was reportedly shot by police after ramming his vehicle into the facility where employees clock in. After the vehicle caught fire, the man began shooting at workers, according to multiple witness reports.
In addition to the two fatalities, four people who were struck are receiving care at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital. They are in fair condition, spokeswoman Allison Hendrickson told The Sacramento Bee.
The incident began just after 3 p.m. south of Red Bluff, 120 miles north of Sacramento. Witnesses told The Red Bluff Daily News one of the victims was a woman who was shot as she tried to flee the building. There was also a fire at the facility.
A man had also reported to dispatchers that his leg was run over when the shooter rammed a vehicle into the facility, but the man wasn’t sure whether he’d been shot, according to the Record Searchlight in Redding.
The ordeal was over in less than 45 minutes after officers shot the suspect in the upper chest just before 3:45 p.m., according to radio communications. It was unknown if the alleged gunman had survived his wounds, but he was described to a Corning Observer reporter as a “white man with black hair, wearing a green and gray T-shirt and black shorts.”
“There was an active shooter, he was shot, last I heard he was on his way to the hospital,” Red Bluff City Manager Rick Crabtree told Chico television station KRCR.
A spokeswoman from the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office was not immediately available, according to dispatchers, who could not provide additional information.
Police continued to work the scene and had cleared the building of further threats just after 5:30 p.m.
An employee at the facility told the Record Searchlight that he heard shooting from a semi-automatic weapon.
“It went on and on — I don’t even know how many times he fired,” Scott Thammakhanty told the newspaper. “I just know it was a lot.”
Another employee, Franklin Lister, 51, told The New York Times he had just started work when a coworker ran down the hallway shouting: “Active gunfire! Active shooter!”
Lister told the newspaper he had seen blood dripping from his colleague’s arm.
The shooter smashed a vehicle into the distribution center, officers said in a 3:08 p.m. call to dispatch. Police said the suspect’s vehicle, described as a Suburban or other large SUV was “wedged into the front of the building,” according to dispatch logs.
Employees at the center told Action News Now, the CBS affiliate in Chico, that a shooting had taken place with about 200 workers inside the facility, some of whom locked themselves in a room.
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