Nebraska cops thwarted an active shooter who began firing off rounds of ammunition inside an Omaha Target before he was gunned down Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The suspect, armed with an AR-15 rifle, sent shoppers and workers fleeing for cover when he began shooting inside the megastore at around 12 p.m., according to Omaha police.
A potential massacre was averted when the first cops responding to the scene quickly shot and killed the unidentified man, said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer.
No one was injured, but Schmaderer said the shooter had “plenty of ammunition.” Evidence indicates he fired off multiple rounds, but it isn’t yet known if he fired at anyone, the lawman said.
Cops were at the department store within minutes of 911 calls coming in around noon.
“The first arriving officers went into the building, confronted the suspect and shot him dead,” Schmaderer said at a news conference an hour after the frightening incident.
The suspect was described as a white man in his 30s.
One customer inside Target when shots rang out said the scene was “sheer panic.” When Cathy Mahannah first heard a banging sound, she thought something had fallen until she saw dozens of people sprinting to the exit.
“The moments in that parking lot were terrifying when I heard the shots and thought, ‘Where do I hide? I don’t know what to do.’” the 62-year-old grandmother said, adding she jumped into a car with a stranger in the panicked confusion.
Store employee Lauren Murphy said she was in the bathroom when she heard gunshots and quickly texted family and friends she loved them. She put her feet on top of a toilet inside a stall so the shooter wouldn’t see her legs if he entered.
“I was scared that this is how I might die at work,” Murphy, 21, said. “It was just terrifying.”
Another 21-year-old worker, Samuel Jacobsen, said a co-worker told him to get out of the store.
“Then my coworker ran by and she said, ‘He’s got a gun, get out!’” Jacobsen said. “I was like, ‘Oh this is real. I have to get out, I have to get out, I have to get out.’”
Omaha police Lt. Neal Bonacci said in a tweet Target employees helped shoppers make it out of the store safely and the retail workers just went through active shooter training.
Target said that the location would be closed temporarily.
“The store will remain closed temporarily, during which time we will provide our team members full compensation and access to on-site counseling for those who need it,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracing the weapon to determine whether it was bought legally and where it came from, an agency spokesperson said.
With Post wires
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