An officer involved shooting inside a Del City Walmart kills one man and injures two officers. It happened around 11 o’clock Saturday night when a shoplifter resisted arrest.
“It didn't alarm anybody,” said Walmart shopper Christina Williams.
Williams didn't think much about the muffled sounds coming from the front of the store.
“We were on our way towards the front of the building and we heard three bangs which we assumed was hammering,” she said.
But unbeknownst to her and the other customers at the Walmart located at 5401 Tinker Diagonal St. in Del City, something more sinister was happening.
“How do we get from shoplifting to an officer involved shooting,” said Captain Bradley Rule with the Del City Police Department.
Captain Bradley Rule with the Del City Police Department said it started with a shoplifter. A security guard, who is also a police officer with the Amber Police Department, was holding the man in an office until Del City police arrived.
“While our officer was in route he was told that the suspect had a warrant for his arrest,” Capt. Rule said.
The outstanding warrant was for violating a suspended sentence. When the Del City officer arrived, the situation intensified.
“He immediately went to take him into custody and a struggle ensued between them,” he said.
During the struggle on the ground, police say the suspect pulled out a small handgun and started shooting. He shot the security guard in the arm and abdomen. The Del City officer was hit in the leg but managed to return fire, killing the shoplifter, whose name is being withheld at this time.
“Shoplifting is obviously a crime,” Capt. Rule said. “But you wouldn't think a regular person would want to be in a shootout with police for something small like that, but he did have a warrant so we're assuming that's why he acted the way he did.”
On Sunday, the store was open for business. The two officers remain hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
“It didn't cause a panic, nobody was frantic in the store or anything like that, so I think it was probably a blessing in disguise that it happened behind that door rather than in the building,” Williams said. “Only anybody can assume why he did what he did but I’m grateful that the other two are okay and gonna make it.”
Del City Mayor, Brian Linley, said in a statement “This incident is so unfortunate, and I would ask that we keep everyone involved in our thoughts and prayers. We are so fortunate the injuries to my police officer and guard weren’t worse than they were.”
The Del City police officer will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Walmart also released the following statement Sunday evening:
“We are saddened by the tragic incident. We’re thankful for actions of the Del City Police Department, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the two officers injured. We are working closely with law enforcement. Since this is an active investigation, we will refer additional questions to them.” Anne Hatfield, Walmart Spokesperson for Oklahoma