Victims, shooter identified in Bend Safeway killing that left 3 dead, including shooter
A Safeway at the Forum Shopping Center off Highway 20 remained closed Monday as police continued to investigate a deadly mass shooting that took place after 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Speaking late Sunday, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said the shooter entered the shopping center from a residential neighborhood behind the stores and then walked through the parking lot near Costco. He fired shots into the Big Lots store and then shot someone near the western entrance to the Safeway.
“The shooter continued through the Safeway, firing rounds,” Krantz said. “The shooter killed a second person inside the Safeway.”
Bend police identified those victims Monday as Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, and Donald Ray Surrett, Jr., 66. Surrett was an employee with Safeway, and police said he attempted to disarm the shooter, identified as 20-year-old Ethan Miller, possibly saving more lives. Miller died from a self-inflicted gun wound, according to police.
Officers with the Bend Police Department focused their efforts Monday on the Fox Hollow apartments, a cluster of light blue buildings behind the shopping center where the attack occurred. A woman who lives next door to a unit police were searching told a reporter she’d been evacuated after 11 p.m. Sunday because of a potential bomb threat in the building. She spent the night in a hotel.
“They had to wait for a bomb squad from either Portland or Salem to deal with it,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.
Officers carried boxes of items, including computers, out of the suspected shooter’s apartment. A Ford truck outside the apartment appeared to have bullet holes on its side.
Several neighbors said they heard the shooting start in the complex, before the sound trailed off as the shooter headed toward the Forum Shopping Center.
Lori Bender, who lives across from the apartment, said she heard shots right outside her apartment.
A person who lived near the unit identified the shooter as Miller, a former student of Mountainview High School in Bend. Two other people who attended high school with Miller also independently told OPB that he was the shooter.
A social media account in Miller’s name posted several writings online in the months leading up to the shooting, expressing suicidal ideation and a desire to hurt others. The writer of those posts stated he wanted to carry out a school shooting at Mountainview High School on Sept. 8, the first day of the school year. Officials with Mountainview told OPB on Monday morning that they were not aware of any threats against the school.
Neighbors told OPB that Miller had recently moved into the apartment.
Ryan Heming lives in a neighboring complex and said he heard five shots fired quickly. Looking out the window, he saw a man wearing all-black firing a large gun at random.
Heming said he saw the man running toward the Costco parking lot, shooting at people before eventually heading toward the Safeway.
“He was shooting and laughing,” Heming said. “He just unleashed lots of bullets … I was shaking all night.”
A few minutes later he said he saw two women — one holding a baby — running away from the Safeway. They were customers in the store as the shooting broke out. Heming opened his door and told them to come inside his apartment to wait out the danger.
“The baby was crying, couldn’t stop crying,” Heming said.
Jennifer and Jason King have lived across the street from Miller’s apartment complex for the last 15 years. They said they heard three distinct barrages of gun fire on Sunday night around 7 p.m., each seeming successively further from their home and toward the direction of the Safeway. They soon saw people running from the area of the nearby shopping center where the shooting took place.
“We heard from one of the guys at the Safeway that it was a 20-year-old who used to work there,” Jennifer King said, still shaken the morning after a killing so close to her apartment. “There’s been a drive-by here before and a shooting in one of the apartments. Never a mass shooting.”
The FBI confirmed it is assisting the Bend Police Department with “intel analysis and investigative technology.” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also said in a statement that the Oregon State Police were also assisting.
“I am asking all Oregonians to keep the victims of last night’s shooting in Bend and their families in your thoughts and in your hearts today. Every Oregonian should be able to go to a grocery store without the fear of gun violence,” Brown said. “Last night’s shooting was one of several in Oregon just this weekend. The families of these victims will forever be impacted by these senseless acts. All Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.”
This story may be updated. Ryan Haas contributed to this story.
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