REDDING, Calif. – At least two people are dead and four injured after a shooting Saturday at a Northern California Walmart distribution center, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.
According to Allison Hendrickson, a spokeswoman for Dignity Health North State, four patients were in fair condition at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff and two have died. She wasn’t immediately sure whether there were other victims at another hospital.
Law enforcement officials at the scene said the gunman was in surgery after being shot.
Little on the investigation has come out so far, but Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said deputies have determined the shooter circled the parking lot in his vehicle four times before crashing into the building and opening fire with a semi-automatic long gun.
Red Bluff police engaged in gunfire with the suspect shortly after. He underwent surgery for a gunshot wound, Johnston said.
Chief Kyle Sanders said the officers fired after the suspect first fired at them “multiple times.” The two officers who fired the shots are on paid administrative leave pending a routine investigation into the shooting of the suspect, Sanders said.
Meanwhile, officials said they haven’t figured out whether the shooting is related to one earlier in the day in Shingletown that reportedly killed three.
“It is possible, we have just not confirmed it,” Johnston said.
Scott Thammakhanty, an employee at the facility’s receiving center who unloads trucks, said he heard the shooter fire from what he judged to be a semi-automatic weapon.
“It went on and on – I don’t even know how many times he fired,” Thammakhanty said. “I just know it was a lot.”
Thammakhanty and others started running for their lives, and he saw people lying on the ground as he went, he said.
Vince Krick was waiting outside because his wife and son work at the facility. They weren’t hurt, but Krick was anxiously waiting to be reunited with them.
“It was real crazy, because, you know, you can’t do nothing,” Krick said.
Krick was on the way to pick up his wife when he saw flames, he said. His wife texted that she was OK, but told him not to come to the front entrance.
The shooting happened right as a new group of workers started their shift, he said.
Krick’s wife, a manager, was able to get some employees out the back of the building, he said.
The suspect was described as being in a white vehicle that had wedged into the building and had what dispatchers believed was an assault-style weapon. The shooter was in the middle of the parking lot, dispatchers said.
Deputies said a fire had started by the time the suspect was detained and they couldn’t get into the building because of the blaze.
In an email, Walmart director of national media relations Scott Pope said the company is “aware of the situation” and working with law enforcement to investigate.
“We don’t have any additional information to share at this time,” Pope wrote.
Red Bluff is about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
Follow Damon Arthur on Twitter at @damonarthur_RS.