OMAHA, Neb. — A man with an AR-15-style rifle opened fire inside a Target store in Omaha, sending panicked shoppers and employees scrambling for safety before he was fatally shot by police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said the man had “plenty of ammunition” and that evidence suggests he fired multiple rounds, but it wasn’t immediately known if he fired at anyone.
Schmaderer said no wounded people were found, and police had searched through the store “because there were some people hiding in there.”
Cathy Mahannah, a customer, said the scene inside the store was “sheer panic.”
The 62-year-old was near the store’s entrance picking out Valentine’s Day gifts for her young grandchildren when she heard a banging sound. She thought something had fallen, then saw a mass of people running for the exit.
A shopper told her there was an active shooter, and she fled. She heard at least one more shot in the store and a few more when she was outside.
PHOTOS: Omaha police fatally shoot armed man in Target store
Mahannah was so rattled she initially couldn’t find her car and jumped into a vehicle with a stranger.
“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.’” she said.
The police chief said there were several 911 calls shortly before noon and officers were at the store within minutes.
“The first arriving officers went into the building, confronted the suspect and shot him dead,” Schmaderer said, speaking at news conference about an hour after the shooting. “He had an AR-15 rifle with him and plenty of ammunition.”
Target spokesperson Brian Harper-Tibaldo said in a statement all guests and team members were safely evacuated from the store, which would remain closed indefinitely.
Lt. Neal Bonacci, a police spokesperson, said officers are trained to enter such scenes quickly to prevent mass casualties.
“We’ve learned a lot from other jurisdictions, other areas, other cities that have unfortunately experienced this,” he said. “We enter right away. We’re trained to do so. Whether it’s one officer or 10, we go inside and neutralize the threat.”
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