CORONA, Calif. — A gunman who had been in an argument inside a Southern California Costco opened fire — killing a man, wounding two other people and sparking a stampede of terrified shoppers before he was taken into custody, police said.
Police swarmed the Costco after shots were reported shortly Friday night at the huge warehouse store about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, where families were stocking up for the week or dropping by for weekend steaks.
Among the wounded was an off-duty Los Angeles police officer. The officer was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital, Los Angeles Police officer Greg Kraft said Saturday. Kraft did not know the nature of the officer’s injuries.
Witnesses told KCAL-TV that a man with a Mohawk haircut was arguing with someone near a freezer section when he pulled a gun and fired at least six shots.
The man involved in the argument was killed and two other people were wounded, Corona police Lt. Jeff Edwards said. In statement issued early Saturday, Corona police said their conditions were unknown.
The suspected gunman told officers he had been injured and was taken to the hospital, Edwards said. It was unclear how the man was hurt.
No identities were immediately released. Police said the name of the deceased won’t be released until the Riverside County coroner notifies family.
Shoppers and employees described terror and chaos as the shots rang out.
Shrieks can be heard on video shot by shopper Nikki Tate, who had stopped by the store with her daughter to pick up steaks for Father’s Day.
“Walked back to the meat section and just immediately heard about six or seven shots and got on the ground,” she told KNBC in Los Angeles. “Didn’t know if this was another mass shooting.”
In the video, her daughter says, “Mommy, we need to go.” The two huddled together.
Christina Colis told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that she was in the produce area when she heard six to seven shots and hid with other shoppers in a refrigerated produce room. She said her mother saw people injured on the floor.
Corona resident Will Lungo, 45, said he and his wife were near the produce and alcohol sections when he heard gunshots.
“I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots,” Lungo told the Press-Enterprise. “An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit.”
Witnesses told KCAL-TV that shoppers and employees rushed to the exits. The station reported that, at one point, more than 100 people were outside the store.
Corona police said purses, cellphones and backpacks, were left behind by panicked shoppers. The warehouse store is holding shopping bags and other items abandoned by shoppers.