REDDING, Calif. — At least two are dead, including the suspect, and four are injured after a shooting at a northern California Walmart distribution center, authorities confirmed on Saturday.
The victim killed — an employee at the facility — has been identified as Martin Haro-Lozano, 45, of Orland, California.
Allison Hendrickson, a spokeswoman for Dignity Health North State, said four patients were in fair condition at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, California, and two had died. She wasn’t immediately sure whether there were other victims at another hospital.
Tehama County sheriff’s officials early Sunday morning said the suspect was fired from the center last year.
Louis Lane, 31, of Redding was fired from the distribution center in February 2019 because he did not show up for work, sheriff’s officials said.
Lane showed up at the distribution center at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday and crashed his sport-utility vehicle into the employee entrance to the building, officials said. After the SUV caught fire, Lane got out and opened fire inside the building.
Red Bluff police were the first to arrive and in the parking lot of the center they exchanged gunfire with Lane, who was shooting a semi-automatic rifle, officials said. The second officer on the scene seriously wounded Lane. He was taken to hospital where he died, officials said.
Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said the rifle’s magazine was illegal in California because it held more than 10 rounds.
Johnston said deputies have determined the shooter circled the parking lot four times before crashing into the building and opening fire with a semiautomatic long gun.
Johnston said later in the evening that the suspect and one victim, an employee, were dead.
At least one person was struck by the suspect’s car, Johnston said. He said the shooter was able to enter the facility, where he shot at random. Johnston couldn’t provide details on when and where during the attack people were injured.
Red Bluff police engaged in gunfire with the suspect shortly after, and he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound, Johnston said.
“I would estimate 20 to 30 rounds exchanged,” he 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 initially said they hadn’t figured out whether the shooting is related to one earlier in the day in Shingletown that reportedly killed three, but Johnston later said they were separtae incidents.
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.
The shooter looked familiar to Thammakhanty, but he didn’t know his identity.
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 the flames, he said. His wife texted that she was OK, but told him not to come to the front entrance.
The shooting happened right when a new group of workers starts 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.