Washington State: Supermarket employee killed in shooting, gunman on the loose

Authorities were searching for the gunman who allegedly opened fire inside a supermarket in southeast Washington state, killing at least one person and critically injuring another, authorities said.

An employee of the Fred Meyer grocery store in Richland was killed in the shooting, Richland Police Department Cmdr. Chris Lee said.

The suspect was described in a police statement as “armed and dangerous.”

Authorities released pictures of the alleged gunman, who has not been identified, wearing a checkered shirt and dark-colored vest inside the supermarket.

Before opening fire with a handgun the suspect talked to the employee. It wasn’t clear what the conversation was about or if they knew each other. A motive in the shooting also wasn’t clear.

The employee was pronounced dead at the scene, interim police chief Brigit Clary said during a news conference.

The suspect then fled the store, though it wasn’t clear if he was in a car or on foot, the department said.

In a statement, Fred Meyer said the company was “deeply saddened” by the shooting and the death of the employee, who has not been publicly identified. It offered its “thoughts, prayers and support to all affected individuals and families during this difficult time.”

The statement added that the company is cooperating with law enforcement agencies. The store will remain closed while their investigation continues.

The second victim, who was not identified, was undergoing surgery and remained in critical condition, Lee said.

The market is a little more than two miles west of the Columbia River and 220 miles east of downtown Portland.