FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — A shopper suspected of shooting and injuring a WinCo employee, after an argument over alcohol, was arrested late Thursday, Federal Way police said.
The shooting happened just before 1 p.m. at the WinCo store located at 160 Southwest Campus Driver, while the store was full of customers.
KIRO 7 spoke with some employees who said the victim was a security guard who worked in loss prevention. The 30-year-old was called to remove a drunk and belligerent customer when cashiers refused to sell the man alcohol.
Police said that while the security guard was trying to escort the customer out, the customer pulled out a pistol and shot the guard in the chest inside the store, near the entrance.
The store worker, who is expected to survive, was taken by paramedics to a waiting airlift near the store and was flown to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
Nearby detectives dusted items inside a grocery cart for prints. Law enforcement believes the suspect had loaded a cart full of items and pushed it to a nearby stairwell, where he got away.
The stairwell was strewed with items from the store.
The mother of a WinCo worker told KIRO 7 that she believed the store to be a safe place. “I come here and shop so. This is my place I shop at too, so.”
When asked had she ever been concerned before, she replied: “No!, not at all. I never ever heard anything like this could ever happen here.”
But other workers told KIRO 7 that the parking lot is the scene of frequent car break-ins.
KIRO 7 noticed that a surveillance tower looms over the lot, intended to help prevent vehicle prowls.
“We have cameras in the store. I had a vehicle stolen from here,” one person told KIRO 7.
During the incident, nearby schools were also placed on lockdown.
A K-9 was used to track the suspect, but he could not be found until much later.
Police said they arrested a 24-year-old man “responsible for the shooting at WinCo this afternoon.”
He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the King County Jail for first-degree assault.
The investigation remains ongoing.
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