Two killed, one injured in shooting at Oregon shopping centre

Law enforcement personnel outside the Forum Shopping Center in Bend, Oregon, after a shooting on Aug. 28, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (REUTERS, NYTIMES) - Two people were shot and killed and a third was wounded at a shopping centre in Bend, Oregon, on Sunday (Aug 28), prompting law enforcement agencies to flood the area and enter a grocery store, where officers found the gunman dead from a gunshot wound, the authorities said.

The 20-year-old shooter may have been thwarted from taking more lives by a store employee who fought him over the gun and was one of the two killed, the authorities said on Monday.

The gunman, who lived in an apartment complex adjacent to the Safeway grocery store, was identified by police as Ethan Blair Miller, 20.

He took his own life before officers could fire a single shot, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz told reporters at a news conference.

Store employee Donald Ray Surrett Jr, 66, sought to disarm Miller near the produce section and was slain during the confrontation.

"He may well have prevented further deaths," Mr Krantz said.

A customer of the store, 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett, was also killed in the shooting rampage.

Police said Miller entered the Forum Shopping Centre carpark around 7pm local time on Sunday from the Fox Hollow Apartments, carrying an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun. A second shotgun and three Molotov cocktails were found in his car.

He began shooting in the carpark and then entered the store, where he shot and killed one person near the front door, a spokesman for the Bend Police Department said by phone on Sunday. He continued walking through the store, firing multiple rounds, police said. The gunman then fatally shot another person inside the store.

Officials declined to speculate on a motive for the rampage and said they were investigating social media reports that may be linked to the gunman. Digital devices were found at his home, police said.

Officers responded immediately to emergency calls and entered the store while gunshots were still being fired, Mr Krantz said. They found Miller dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ms Lisa Goodman, a spokesman for Saint Charles hospital in Bend, a community of 100,000 people 160 miles (258km) southeast of Portland, said that one injured person had been admitted there and that the individual's condition was good.

The shooting came a little more than three months after a gunman armed with an assault-style weapon killed 10 people and wounded three others in an attack at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The shooting also underscored how the grocery store has become another place where frightening gun violence can occur.

Last September, a gunman killed one person and injured 14 at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee. Earlier that year, in March, 10 people were killed in an attack a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

The Forum Shopping Centre is a popular spot for locals, who visit its various stores including Old Navy, Big Lots and Safeway.

Ms Lindsey Brunsman, 40, a photographer and personal trainer, said she had been walking her dog in a nearby park around 7pm when she heard several pops.

"I have guns and like to go shooting, and I know what those sound like," she said. "I thought, 'I really hope that's not what I think it is'."

Ms Jessica Swartz, the owner of River's Place, a nearby pod of food carts, said she did not hear any gunfire over the sound of music from a live band. But she saw her customers suddenly getting up and leaving in a "mass exodus".

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