LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A gunman took hostages inside a supermarket in the US city of Los Angeles on Saturday (July 21) and shot one woman dead before handcuffing himself and surrendering, police said.
The drama began at another location when “a male suspect... become involved in a family dispute which resulted in him shooting his grandmother and a female,” Sergeant Barry Montgomery told journalists.
“That suspect fled the location in his grandmother’s vehicle, taking that female victim with him,” and eventually entered a Trader Joe’s supermarket, he said.
While police chased the suspect he “fired on officers multiple times” before an “additional gun battle” outside the Trader Joe’s, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told reporters.
During the shootout, the suspect was wounded in the arm, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, adding that one woman was shot in the store and later declared dead at the scene.
“I regret to inform you that there is one fatality that occurred inside, of a woman,” Garcetti said, without identifying the victim.
Inside the store the suspect took “numerous victims, of citizens as well as store employees, hostage,” Moore said.https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1020826008352587778
Officers rescued some workers and customers, while the hostage-taker released some himself.
About three hours after the ordeal began, negotiations led to the man “handcuffing himself and coming outside and surrendering to SWAT officers,” the police chief said.
The incident injected chaos – and scores of police and fire vehicles – into the busy commercial area of shops and apartment buildings.
Don Kohles was standing outside the store when the suspect’s car slammed into a pole.
Just then he heard two shots. He ran into the exit door of the Trader Joe’s, looked back at the street and saw two police officers shooting at a man, he said.
“The bullets were flying everywhere – through the front of the store and across the parking lot,” Kohles told the Los Angeles Times.
The gunfire shattered the glass doors, Kohles said, and the gunman ran inside and “down the middle aisle.”
US President Donald Trump had earlier tweeted that he was “watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely.”
Devin Field, a man who said he was walking into the store when the incident unfolded, described his experience in a series of tweets.
“I was walking in when a car... running from the police crashed into street lamp in front of the entrance. Gunman got out and started shooting at the cops. I hid behind a retaining wall with three cops until they had me crawl out,” wrote Field, whose Twitter account identifies him as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show.
“Gunman walked in shooting. He went into the back and took hostages. Employees snuck out through back emergency exits. Employee says blood was all over the floor, unclear from where,” he wrote.