Emergency personnel respond to a shooting inside Martin's Supermarket in Elkhart, Ind., late Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/The Elkhart Truth, Jon Garcia)
A man armed with a semi-automatic handgun and a large hunting knife shot and killed a shopper and a store worker before he was shot by police at a supermarket in northern Indiana late Wednesday night, authorities said.
Police remained on the scene in Elkhart this morning collecting evidence and have searched the suspected gunman’s home two miles away, police said. So far, they have no evidence the shooter knew either of the women he shot, who were 20 and 44, but they believe he planned the shooting in advance, a police spokesman said.
“Obviously there was some type of planning that went into this,” said Sgt. Trent Smith of the Indiana State Police. “This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
At 10:07 p.m. Wednesday, Elkhart police received the first call of a man with a gun at a Martin’s Super Market at 3900 East Bristol Street. Two officers were in the area on an unrelated call and rushed to the store, Smith said.
Within three minutes, the officers were inside the store. After hearing a gunshot, they quickly located the gunman, who was pointing a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun at someone’s head, Smith said.
The officers opened fire and struck the shooter, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds, he said.
After shooting the gunman, police found the women’s bodies about 12 aisles apart, Smith said. Police said both women were apparently shot by the gunman.
All three people died on the scene. Authorities have not released their identities, pending confirmation that family members had been notified.
In addition to the large-caliber handgun, police recovered a large knife the shooter brought to the store, Smith said.
Smith credited the prompt response by officers for preventing more injuries. “The quick action of the Elkhart City Police Department responding to this active shooter undoubtedly saved several lives tonight,” he said.
Tony Beltran said his mother works at the store and he talked to her shortly after the shooting.
“She told me that she heard what sounded like gunshots and everybody around her was telling her that they heard gunshot,” Beltran told WNDU-TV in South Bend.
“What I was told by my mother was that they evacuated Martin’s and at the time that she gave me the call, she was outside. I asked her if she was OK, she was alright,” he said
“It makes me feel angry, obviously,” Beltran added. “This world, I guess, is kind of screwed up right now. You can’t even go to the grocery store and not be safe.”
Martin’s Super Markets posted a message overnight on the company’s Facebook page.
“Thank you to our community for your thoughts and prayers tonight,” the message read. “We will comment further when we can do so responsibly and appropriately.”
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