'Hero' customer kills gunman during wild rampage at Tumwater Walmart
TUMWATER, Wash. - An armed civilian is being hailed as a hero Monday after he killed a gunman who injured three other people during a wild rampage that began in Olympia and ended at a Tumwater Walmart store on Father's Day.
Customers ran for cover Sunday as the gunman opened fire inside the store, then shot a motorist outside in the parking lot as he attempted to carjack two vehicles at gunpoint.
"We all just dropped our stuff and ran for our lives," says Caitlin Wallner, who was at the checkout when the suspect opened fire.
"It's like an earthquake - you just got to get up and haul ass and run," said another woman who was there.
But one armed customer gave chase and pulled out his own weapon, killing the gunman, 44-year-old Tim Day.
"He is a hero," says Brian Adams, who was at the scene and saw the Walmart customer pull out his own weapon and shoot the gunman. "I really think more people could easily have been shot with what this guy was doing. He was just - there were several shots."
The bizarre drama actually began earlier, around 4:40 p.m., when Olympia police were notified of a possible carjacking at an area gas station. The suspect had approached a family and attempted to take their car but was not successful, police said. However, a 16-year-old boy in the car was injured.
The suspect fled the scene, drove the wrong way on Highway 101, and quickly exited into the city of Tumwater. The suspect drove erratically on surface streets and crashed the vehicle at the intersection of Tyee Drive and Israel Road SW, said Tumwater police spokeswoman Laura Wohl.
He then left his car and attempted to carjack at least two other vehicles, fired shots at the vehicles and demanded owners abandon their cars. One other victim sustained minor injuries in those attempts.
The suspect eventually was successful in carjacking a third vehicle that he drove to WalMart on Littlerock Road.
The suspect entered the store and proceeded to the sporting goods section, where he opened fire at a locked ammunition display case and removed some ammunition, Wohl said.
The gunman then left the store and walked out, followed by two customers who were legally carrying firearms and heard the first shots.
Megan Chadwick was there, huddled with her four kids as the gunman stalked out into the parking lot.
"I thought we were in the clear as soon as we got out, and then I just heard four gunshots in a row, the cars crashing and the carts flying at us," she says.
The gunman tried to hijack a car - but when the driver refused to give it up, the gunman shot him.
The suspect then approached a second car and driver - and it was then that Adams saw one of the two armed customers jump into action and shoot the gunman dead.
"Those men who stood up, they are heroes to me," says Chadwick.
The armed civilian who shot the gunman was later identified as a 47-year-old Oakville man. After shooting the suspect, he immediately grabbed his first aid kit from his car and rendered aid to the victim of the attempted carjacking. The victim was later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, in critical condition.