Police: Man shot and killed woman, then himself near Michaels store in Lacey

LACEY, Wash. — Two people are dead in Lacey after an apparent murder-suicide in the parking lot of a strip mall on Sleater Kinney Road Southeast.

The area was very busy with shoppers, families, and kids Friday evening, when the shooting happened about a quarter before 6pm.

Witnesses say they first knew something was wrong when they heard shouting, and saw a woman running across the parking lot right in front of the Michael's arts and crafts store, and saw a man chasing her.

"He confronted her and the shouting match began," said Cmdr. Joe Upton, with the Lacey Police Department.

"Her arms were up and she was telling him no, no, crying. He just still did it," said Denise Watson, a witness.  

"I heard four shots and I look out the window and there were two bodies lying on the ground," said John Beatie, another witness.

Beatie said he had just dropped his wife off at Michael's, and was sitting in his car. He heard a man and woman arguing.

"She turned and ran, she ran right in front of my car. He ran down on the other side of the cars and intercepted her. They were yelling, and right in front of me, he pulled this pistol," Beatie said. "About that time, I ducked down," he said.

That's when the man opened fire.

Lacey police the man is 50 years old, a resident of Lacey.

"The male  then pulled out a pistol and shot her several times in the chest," Upton said.

Then the man shot himself in the head  and died in the parking lot.

Police say his victim was a 41-year-old woman, also from Lacey. She died at the hospital.

Police are still investigating their relationship, but officers on scene say she had a protection order against him.

"She was in the black car, and he was in the red truck," Upton said. The red truck was parked askew with a door open and appeared to be blocking the black vehicle in a parking spot.

Police say there were no stray bullets.

Families there shopping with her children say.

"Who knows where those bullets could've went with all these kids around here?" said Heather Smith, from Yelm.

"I'm just glad no one else got hurt," Beattie said.

Police said it's very unusual for this type of shooting to happen in such a public area.

Lacey police say they'll be looking into the relationship between the man and woman and what led up to the sequence of events.

More news from KIRO 7: