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1 dead, 1 injured at Richland Fred Meyer shooting

Richland Police Department

One man died and another man was injured in a shooting at a Fred Meyer grocery store in Richland, Washington.

UPDATED: Richland [Washington] police officials say the man accused of killing one person at a Tri-Cities Fred Meyer store has been apprehended on his way north to Spokane late Monday night.

Thirty-nine-year-old Aaron Christopher Kelly was taken into custody on Interstate 90 between Spokane and Sprague. He’ll be booked into the Benton County Jail on first degree and attempted first degree murder charges. On Monday afternoon, a law-enforcement helicopter circled the scene, as dozens of police cars whirled their lights in the grocery store parking lot. Fred Meyer employees gathered at the nearby Goodwill shop parking lot and were visibly shaken.

Officers say the alleged suspect was a former employee of the store.

Police responded to the scene one minute after a 911 call alerted officers to the shooting at 11:03 a.m Monday.

Richland police commander Chris Lee said the alleged suspect and the man who died had a conversation before the shooting. Lee said the injured man, an employee at the store, is recovering at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. He was in critical condition as of late Monday. Police have yet to release the names of the victims.

Police say Kelly has had contact with law enforcement in the past.

A helicopter and at least 20 police cars crowded the area after the shooting, lights flashing during the palpably tense scene. Employees were evacuated to the Goodwill across the street. Many employees sat on the curb and waited until police officers could escort them back to their cars.

The shooting was a shock, said Eric Renner, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers 1439, which represents workers at the store.

“No one should have to worry about their safety when going into a store to get groceries for their family. We stand together with everyone in our community against this violence.” Renner said in a statement.

Fred Meyer president Dennis Gibson is expected to arrive in Richland shortly, according to Richland City Manager Jon Amundson.

Five nearby schools and the school district support facilities initially were placed in a precautionary lockdown. Later in the afternoon, children were released as normal from schools. School bus routes ran as scheduled.

The Richland School District loaned two school buses to the Richland fire and police departments to help reunite people after the shooting, according to the district.

Dori Luzzo Gilmour and Courtney Flatt contributed to this report.