Last Updated Nov 2, 2017 1:29 AM EDT
THORNTON, Colo. — Two men and a woman were killed in a shooting inside a suburban Denver Walmart on Wednesday night that forced customers to either hide or flee.
Thornton police reported “multiple parties down” and advised people to stay away from the area as dozens of police cruisers and emergency vehicles raced to the scene.
The men died at the store, and the woman died at a hospital.
Thornton police told reporters how the incident started:
Then tweeted a picture of a person of interest:
Aaron Stephens, 44, was in the self-checkout line when he heard a single shot followed by two more bursts of gunfire before people started running for the exits.
“I immediately froze because I didn’t know what to think or what was going on. Then I heard two more shots and I hit the ground,” witness Aaron Stephens told CBS Denver.
“The employees started screaming. Customers were screaming. They were running like crazy, and I ran out too because I didn’t want to get killed,” he said.
Guadalupe Perez was inside the store with her young son when she heard what she thought was a balloon popping. A Walmart employee told her someone was shooting, and then Perez saw people running away yelling, “Let’s go. Let’s go. Leave the groceries.”
“You see all these things in the news and you go through it, it’s scary,” she said. “But thank God we’re OK and nothing happened to us.”
Investigators were reviewing security footage and interviewing witnesses to get a description of the shooter. Special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping police in the investigation.
The Walmart, about 10 miles north of Denver, is in a busy shopping center that includes restaurants, a movie theater and several other stores.
Ragan Dickens, a Walmart spokesman, said the company is working with investigators. He declined further comment.
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