BEND, Ore. - (Update: More police comments)
A man fired two shots from a handgun in the Bend Walmart early Thursday morning, apparently trying to shoot out the locks on electronics gear, then ran and eluded a manhunt in the area, police said. No one was wounded, but the shots prompted police to impose a “lockout” on the store and two nearby businesses.
Bend police and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies responded around 4 a.m. to the 24-hour Walmart Supercenter at 20120 Pinebrook Boulevard, said Lt. Clint Burleigh.
Deschutes County 911 dispatchers were told that the man had fired two rounds from a handgun inside the store, then ran out the emergency exit at the store’s northeast corner, toward Badger Road, Burleigh said. There were no indications that anyone was injured or specifically targeted, he added.
Officers arrived on scene and confirmed that two rounds were fired from a 9mm handgun in the Walmart’s electronics department.
To ensure the safety of citizens and employees, the Walmart, as well as the nearby Albertsons and Shari’s Restaurant, were placed on a temporary lockout, to prevent the gunman from entering, Burleigh said.
Video surveillance from inside the store confirmed that no one was near the man when he fired the shots. Burleigh said police determined that the man was trying to disable two locks on higher-end electronics items and was trying to gain access by shooting out the locks.
Numerous police searched the area but were unable to find the gunman. Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect, described as a black male adult, 20 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall and with a skinny build. He was wearing a multi-colored hooded pullover, a burgundy beanie hat, blue jeans and black shoes.
Burleigh said the suspect is considered dangerous, "I think if you are looking at somebody who actually shot in a store in a public area like that, and they shot their firearm or handgun to open up a lock, I would say they're making a decision that's not conducive to the safety to the community, which in my opinion would make them dangerous."
Bend police said it was an unusual crime for Bend, but as the area continues to grow, crime is expected to change.
"There's a lot of different things that happen when you have more people," Burleigh said. "Doesn't matter where you live, the more people you have in a certain area, you tend to have issues you may not have experienced in the past."
The man is still believed to be armed and his whereabouts are unknown, Burleigh said. He asked anyone with information leading to identifying or locating him to contact police or Deschutes County 911.
Burleigh said the gunman is expected to face charges of unlawful use of a weapon, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree disorderly conduct, first-degree attempted theft and reckless endangering.