Louisville Courier Journal
Published 9:52 PM EDT Oct 24, 2018
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eric Deacon was paying for his groceries Wednesday afternoon at a Kroger store in Kentucky when he heard "a loud bang." It sounded like a wood pallet slamming to the floor.
That's when he saw a man in a neon sweatshirt racing past him, firing a gun back toward another man who was chasing him. Deacon hit the ground, and soon the men were shooting back and forth at each other in the parking lot.
"About that time, a lady came around the corner and got hit," said Deacon, an emergency medical technician who shielded himself from gunfire in the front of the store behind a wall as he 911.
After police arrived, Deacon went over to administer CPR to the woman.
"When I looked at her, she was gone," he said. "There was nothing I could do."
More: Louisville Kroger shooting: Here's what we know
The violence that unfolded Wednesday at a Kroger grocery store in a busy shopping center in Jeffersontown left two people dead, a suspect in custody and police searching for a motive.
Shortly before 3 p.m. EDT, the suspect – who has not been identified – entered Kroger and shot a man inside, then fled to the parking lot and shot a woman, Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect also exchanged gunfire with an armed citizen in the parking lot, but neither was shot nor wounded, according to police. Deacon said police arrived and confronted one of the men, who dropped his gun and got on the ground.
The male suspect was caught by police a short time later in "close proximity" to the Louisville-area store. Some witnesses pointed to a Honda surrounded by police tape and cruisers nearby.
Rogers said he wasn't sure if the man inside the store was targeted but it appeared the woman killed in the parking lot was a random victim.
The first call came into police at 2:54 p.m. reporting that shots were fired inside the store and that there were reports of "multiple injuries."
Tim King said his wife called him while she was shopping and said she heard multiple gunshots. She said people started running and an employee directed them to the back of the store.
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Elaine Harrell was in the produce department asking an employee where she could find Northern beans for her white chili recipe when she heard loud noises and then people screaming and shouting.
She ran – with her cart – out of the front door along with other panicked shoppers.
Outside, she stood and tried to comfort a distraught Kroger employee. But then, she said, she heard the shooting start again outside in the parking lot and ran back inside.
After police had secured the scene, Racheal Huggins showed up to find her daughter, a store employee. Her daughter had taken shelter in a dressing room and was talking to her on her cellphone before they lost contact. "She could hear the shots," said Huggins, who found her daughter safe.
Kroger released a statement saying it is "shocked and saddened by the shooting incident that occurred around 2:30 p.m." It said Kroger is cooperating with law enforcement and that the store is closed and will reopen after the investigation concludes.
Wednesday evening, police continued to investigate, and the parking lot remained bound by yellow police tape. Employees at nearby stores shared stories of seeing gunfire, worried phone calls from relatives and a body being hauled away.
Deacon said he, too, doesn't know what could have motivated the shooting.
"I just know the look on that guy's face. It was like a blank stare ... like he didn't have a care in the world," he said. "I never thought this would happen in J-town. I never thought."
Contributing: Billy Kobin, Darcy Costello, Allison Ross, Matt Glowicki and Thomas Novelly