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Richland Washington shooting: ‘Paranoid’ suspect Aaron Kelly shoplifted at Fred Meyer, employees say

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Megan Sheets ,Nathan Place,Gino Spocchia,Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 10 February 2022 00:51 GMT
Fred Meyer shooting: Worker critical and one dead in Washington

New details continue to emerge about the man suspected of carrying out a deadly rampage at a Fred Meyer supermarket in Washington state.

Aaron Christopher Kelly, 39, was arrested early Tuesday following an hours-long manhunt after he allegedly shot two people, one fatally, at the store in Richland on Monday morning.

He is currently being held at the Benton County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. His bond was held at $1m at a court hearing Tuesday afternoon where his arraignment was postponed until 23 February.

Prior to the hearing, prosecutors revealed Fred Meyer employees recognised Mr Kelly from prior shoplifting incidents, including one just last week.

Meanwhile tributes have poured in for Justin Krumbah, the 38-year-old Instacart shopper killed in the shooting. The other victim, Mark Hill, is said to be in stable condition.

An investigation remains ongoing as the gunman’s motive has yet to be determined.


Businessman recalls 45 minute long situation

Local businessman Robert Cronkite also told a local news station on Monday that his shop sheltered members of the public “for about 45 minutes” while an attack unfolded across the road at a Fred Meyer.

He said he “talked to a couple of the workers” at another nearby business and asked “‘What did you hear?’, and they said ‘we heard a pop, pop, pop’ and four more shots – and at that point they realised there was a shooting”.

Mr Cronkite continued by saying he believed about a dozen people were sent to hospital for treatment following the shooting, with many having fallen over while fleeing the Fred Meyer.

“But there was one person shot and dead and there was an employee and he was shot in the head...and in the chest area”, said the businessman. Those details remain to be confirmed by Richland police.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 13:10

FBI ‘glad to assist’ police department in Richland

The FBI have been among more than half a dozen law enfocrmenrt agencies involved the response and investigations into the shooting at a Fred Meyer, which killed one and injured another.

The FBI office in Seattle, Washington, said its officers were “glad assist our partners at the Richland Police Department”, who arrested a suspect early on Tuesday morning.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 13:40

Police describe shooting as ‘senseless and tragic'

Richland interim police chief Brigit Clary has said the shooting at a Fred Meyer hypermarket was “a senseless and tragic act,” in a statement before the announcement of a the arrest of a 39-year-old suspect on Tuesday morning.

Ms Clary also confirmed on Monday afternoon that in addition to one white male who was shot dead, another while male was in critical condition and had undergone surgery.

While the injured was employee of Fred Meyer, the victim was not, said police.

He was later identified as 38-year-old Justin Krumbah, who reports suggest was known to Fred Meyer staff and will be remembered fondly.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 14:10

What the scene looked like outside the store

Shoppers and employees were escorted out of the Fred Meyer in the south of Richland, Washington, on Monday during a deadly shooting.

Amulances and police responded to the scene, as seen in the image below, and the supermarket is expected to remain closed until investigations are conducted.

Bystanders told reporters that around half a dozen shots were heard, and a suspect who was subject to a manhunt on Monday evening was afterwards arrested about 150 miles north of the city.

At the scene of the shooting in Richland, Washington, on Monday (AP)
Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 14:40

Union boss condemns shooting violence

In a statement following the shooting on Monday, the president a union representing more than a million retail and factory workers said it was in shock at what happened in Richland, Washington.

“Workers in our local grocery stores have experienced many safety concerns over the last two years under Covid,” Eric Renner said. “This tragic shooting is another shock to all of us.”

He added that “We stand together with everyone in our community against this violence.”

Employees at the Fred Meyer voted as recently as last year to become associated with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), according to The New York Times.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 15:10

Suspect known to police, reports say

Police have reportedly said the alleged suspect from Monday’s shooting had contact with law enforcement in the past, although those details remain limited.

The police department in Richland, Washington, is expected to announce further updates on Tuesday following the arrest of the 39-year-old suspect.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 15:40

Everything we know about victim Justin Krumbah

Justin Krumbah, the 38-year-old Instacart shopper killed in Monday’s shooting, has been remembered by his customers as a “breath of fresh air”.

Tributes to Mr Krumbah have flooded a GoFundMe campaign raising money to help his family cover funeral costs.

Posts on his Facebook page also revealed his passion for his job.

In his last post before he died, Mr Krumbah 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 Independent’s Rachel Sharp explains what we know about Mr Krumbah:

Fred Meyer shooting: Slain Instacart shopper Justin Krumbah remembered 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

Megan Sheets8 February 2022 16:09

Gunman’s ex-landlord sought protection order

Suspected gunman Aaron Kelly’s former landlord has claimed that he begged authorities to take away his tenant’s firearm after he tried to poison his dogs.

Bryant Scott wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post, seen by, that Mr Kelly 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.

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.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:

Fred Meyer shooting suspect’s ex-landlord claims he begged for gun to be taken away

Court records show Bryant Scott filed a complaint for unlawful harassment against Aaron Christopher Kelly in October 2020 - 16 months before he allegedly opened fire inside a grocery store on Monday

Megan Sheets8 February 2022 16:30

Tragedy was latest to target supermarkets in US

The shooting at a Fred Meyer store on Monday was the latest in a series of attacks carried out by lone gunman in the US, many of which have involved shootings at supermarkets.

Last year saw shootings at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado, in March. Ten people died.

The following month, a shooting at a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead, New York, killed three people including a store manager.

And In June, a toddler and his grandmother were killed while shopping at Publix supermarket in Royal Palm Beach, Flordia, as The New York Times recalled on Monday.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 16:58

Suspect was spotted by staff members a week before, police say

Prosecutors in Benton County, Washington, have released further details about the Fred Meyer shooting ahead of the suspect’s first appearance in front of Benton-Franklin County Superior Court.

In a Facebook post, the county prosecutor shared documents filed by the Richland Police Department on Monday after they responded to the scene of the shooting.

It reveals details about how suspect guman Aaron Kelly had been at the store a week before and was suspected of shoplifting by Fred Meyer staff. His outfit and vehicle were allegedly the same on Monday as the previous time, a staff member told police.

The incident occurred around aisle 14 and the customer service area, and police said although the suspect had appeared with a shopping cart – he did not place any items inside of it, and “wander briefly” before exiting the scene of the crime.

Gino Spocchia8 February 2022 17:20

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