Fred Meyer suspected gunman was ‘distancing himself from friends and family’ in weeks before shooting

Aaron Christopher Kelly was arrested on Monday on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter

Richland Police hold press conference following arrest of Fred Meyer shooting suspect

The suspected gunman accused of killing one person and critically injuring another at a Fred Meyer grocery store had been “distancing himself from friends and family” in the weeks leading up to Monday’s shooting, according to police.

Richland Police Interim Chief Brigit Clary said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that Aaron Christopher Kelly was “in decline over the last few weeks and months” before he allegedly carried out Monday’s attack in Richland, Washington.

“Acquaintances of [Aaron Christopher] Kelly have described his condition to investigators as being in decline over the last few weeks and months,” she said.

“He has been described as distancing himself from friends and family.”

The police chief’s comments came after court documents, released by Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, reveal that a man who used to be Mr Kelly’s landlord told investigators he had been “mentally spiralling”, was “very paranoid” and that he had previously seen him with a 9mm handgun.

Mr Kelly is now said to be refusing to cooperate with investigators after he was arrested on Monday night along Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane, following an hours-long manhunt.

Chief Clary said that the 39-year-old was “alone” when he was taken into custody and that they are not seeking anyone else in connection to the shooting.

Police said that Mr Kelly entered the grocery store at 11.01am and was seen on surveillance footage pushing a cart with a duffle bag inside.

Just two minutes later, the suspect allegedly had a “10 to 15 second interaction” with his first victim Justin Krumbah before he pulled out a firearm and shot him.

Mr Krumbah, a 38-year-old Instacart shopper who has been described by customers as a “breath of fresh air”, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspect then allegedly shot his second victim – a 56-year-old Fred Meyer employee who has not been identified – before going on the run.

Police arrived on the scene minutes later and found the two victims in the store.

The second victim was given emergency medical treatment at the scene before being rushed to hospital.

The police chief said that he remains in a critical condition and that his family do not want him to be identified at this point.

Police released this security camera image of the suspect wanted in the shooting

Chief Clary told reporters that investigators do not believe the gunman knew either of his victims prior to carrying out the attack nor is he a current or former Fred Meyer employee.

The firearm used in the shooting has not been recovered and it is not clear how many shots were fired.

When questioned about how the gunman managed to get away given the close timing of the shooting to when the first officers arrived on the scene, she insisted that law enforcement “did not encounter the suspect on his way out” of the store.

She also provided no further details about the conversation between Mr Krumbah and Mr Kelly moments before the shooting, aside from that the interaction lasted only seconds.

Richland Police Commander Chris Lee had told reporters on Monday that surveillance footage showed the gunman and Mr Krumbah having some sort of “heated” interaction.

Chief Clary said on Tuesday that Mr Kelly did not have an extensive criminal history but had been known to law enforcement.

His last contact with local law enforcement was in June 2021, she said.

Aaron Kelly was arrested on Monday night after a brief manhunt

Court documents, released by Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, show that Fred Meyer employees told investigators that the suspect had been seen shoplifting at the store prior to Monday’s shooting.

He does not appear to have been charged over these alleged incidents.

A search of Washington state court records by The Independent revealed the only prior record involving the 39-year-old was an “unlawful harassment” complaint made against him in 2020.

The complaint was filed by Bryant Scott in Franklin County Superior Court in October 2020.

Mr Bryant wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post, seen by DailyMail.com, that he had begged authorities to take Mr Kelly’s firearm after he tried to poison his dogs.

He said he was Mr Kelly’s landlord and that he refused to leave the property he rented to him, was “repeatedly attempting to murder my dogs” and waged a campaign of harassment against him and his friends during the pandemic.

Justin Krumbah has been remembered by customers as ‘breathe of fresh air’ after he was killed in Fred Meyer shooting

Mr Scott said he filed for a restraining order against the 39-year-old and asked a judge to confiscate his weapon – but that both requests were denied.

Mr Scott was named in the Benton County prosecutor’s documents after he confirmed to investigators that Mr Kelly was the suspect seen in the surveillance footage and cited concerns about him “mentally spiralling”.

Mr Kelly was arrested around 130 miles from the scene of the shooting on Monday night.

He was booked into Benton County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder and his bond was set at $1m.

Mr Kelly appeared in Benton County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon where his arraignment was postponed to 23 February.

He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth and to confirm that he was waiving his right to a speedy arraignment.

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