Wed 24 Aug 2005
Police officers gather evidence next to the body of one of two Wal-Mart employees who were shot to death, while collecting shopping carts, in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)
The Associated Press reports:
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Two Wal-Mart employees were shot to death Tuesday as they gathered shopping carts in the parking lot of one of the retail stores in suburban Phoenix, and police later arrested the suspected gunman.
The shootings occurred in the middle of the parking lot, about 75 yards from the store entrance. At one point, a body could be seen in one of the corrals used for collecting shopping carts.
Hours later, police spokesman Mike Pena said a suspect had been arrested without incident in a retirement community in nearby Peoria.
Investigators initially sent a robot to the man’s door to make contact, fearing that he could still be armed. The man came out with his hands up, Pena said.
The suspect, described as being in his 50s or 60s, still needed to be put through a lineup and questioned by detectives. His name was not released Tuesday evening.
There was no immediate word on what might have motivated the attacks.
“We don’t know how this happened or what led up to it,” Pena said. He would not say whether the man knew the victims, who were also men.
Delia Garcia, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman on the scene, said the two victims were collecting shopping carts when the gunfire broke out. She said the store would be closed at least until Wednesday.
“This is an extremely tragic situation,” company spokeswoman Sharon Weber said from Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
Authorities initially kept customers inside the store, but they were later allowed to leave.
Lisa Crider said the store was filled with screaming people who were trying to get out. “It was just pure chaos,” she told The Arizona Republic. Crider said she initially tried to stay inside the store but later fled.
Late Tuesday, police cordoned off the suspect’s neighborhood about two miles from the Wal-Mart. Plainclothes officers roamed through the area of stuccoed homes with red-tile roofs and desert landscaping.
Some of the store’s 450 employees could be seen leaving the business Tuesday evening. The company was working to get help for employees upset by the shootings, Garcia said.
Police also cordoned off much of the store’s parking lot, telling anyone whose car was within a perimeter that they would have to leave their vehicles there.
The scene of the shooting was about 20 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix.