Popular Instacart shopper killed in Fred Meyer shooting is remembered as ‘breath of fresh air’ by customers

Justin Krumbah, 38, spoke of his passion for his job on social media just weeks before he was shot dead in the Washington store

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 10 February 2022 03:03 GMT
Fred Meyer shooting: Worker critical and one dead in Washington

The Instacart shopper who was killed in a shooting at a Fred Meyer grocery store has been remembered as a “breath of fresh air” with a “positive, can do attitude” by his heartbroken customers.

Justin Krumbah, 38, died on Monday after police said he was seen having a heated conversation with suspected gunman Aaron Christopher Kelly inside the supermarket in Richland, Washington.

The gunman then opened fire inside the store at around 11am local time, shooting Mr Krumbah and a Fred Meyer store employee.

Mr Krumbah died at the scene while the second man, who has not been identified, was rushed to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

A huge manhunt was launched to track down Mr Kelly before he was arrested 130 miles away on Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane later that night.

Mr Krumbah had spoken of his passion for his job on his Facebook page just weeks before his killing in the store.

In his last post before he died, he had shared a photo of him smiling cheerily dressed in his work apron.

“Hi ho, hi ho, off to work I go!” he captioned the photo, posted on 26 January.

The enthusiastic worker spoke of his “pride” in his job when a friend commented that he wears an apron.

“I take pride in my work no matter what I do!” he responded.

“Always gotta be professional!! And it’s sped up my production time also!!”

Justin Krumbah shared a photo of himself smiling cheerily dressed in his work apron in his last social media post
Justin Krumbah shared a photo of himself smiling cheerily dressed in his work apron in his last social media post (Facebook)

Several people commented on the photo in the aftermath of his death about their positive experiences encountering him during his work.

“You were our Instacart delivery driver everytime we shopped at Fred Meyer. You always sent a message when you accepted our order and said it was a pleasure to shop for us again,” wrote Stephanie McCarl.

“I never got to meet you but your friendly messages made my day everytime we used instacart. The world lost a light today.”

Nancy Stratton paid tribute to his “upbeat attitude” and told how she and her husband wished he could be their regular shopper.

“Justin, I’m a 63-year old person and you made my Instacart experience the best ever last week,” she wrote.

“I told my husband that I wanted you to be our "instacart shopper" but that wasn’t possible.

“Your positive, upbeat attitude and pro-active approach to resolving some pricing issues were unbelievable. I will miss you. God Bless.”

Mr Krumbah’s sister also appears to work for Fred Meyer as a bakery assistant, according to her Facebook page where she changed her profile picture to a photo of her brother.

Tributes also poured in for Mr Krumbah on a GoFundMe page set up to help his family with funeral costs, with Instacart customers posting their fond memories of the popular shopper.

Donor Anna Michele Berens described the 38-year-old as “sunshine” who will “truly be missed”.

“I use Insta cart a lot, and Justin was always a breathe of fresh air, and sunshine. Just so sad,” she wrote.

“Heartfelt sympathy to his family. He will truly be missed. I’m so sorry. Hugs.”

Customers and staff are evacuated from the store following the shooting
Customers and staff are evacuated from the store following the shooting (Tri-City Herald)

A Fred Meyer employee also paid tribute to the Instacart shopper who he said was “an absolute joy” to work with and “always had a smile on his face”.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Justin over the last month or so as he’d been coming to the store every day I was working,” wrote Alexander Weeks.

“He always had a smile on his face and was an absolute joy to be around.

“He was far and away one of my favorite parts of coming in and made those extra hard days seem not so bad. He will be missed dearly by everyone at FM.”

Donations on the GoFundMe page had topped $14,800 by Tuesday morning.

Richland Police Commander Chris Lee said that surveillance footage showed Mr Krumbah and the suspect having  some sort of interaction before the shooting but that they don’t know what was said.

It is not clear if Mr Krumbah and the suspect knew each other prior to the shooting.

Richland Police confirmed late on Monday night that Mr Kelly had been taken into custody without incident.

Police said he will be booked into the Benton County Jail on first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder.

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