Three Dead in Shooting at Walmart in Thornton, Colorado
Two men and a woman are dead after a shooting early Wednesday evening inside the Walmart Supercenter at 9901 Grant St. in Thornton, police said. Police said the gunman is at large.
Hundreds of emergency responders ringed the Thornton Town Center shopping complex for hours after the shooting was reported about 6:30 p.m.
Thornton police spokesman Victor Avila said a gunman wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and a maroon shirt walked into the south entrance of the store and began shooting a handgun randomly. The three victims were all in the same area near the front of the store, Avila said.
The gunman said nothing during the shooting, Avila said, then left.
An hour later, the Thornton Police Department tweeted, “At this time this is not an active shooter.”
Police said the gunman fled in a red Mitsubishi Mirage four-door hatchback, and Avila said they do not have any leads on his identity.
The Thornton Town Center is a big-box shopping complex that backs to Interstate 25 south of East 104th Avenue. It includes several other retailers, including Home Depot, Cinebarre theater and McDonald’s.
People who had been in the store flooded the parking lot of the nearby Golden Corral restaurant, which overlooks the shopping center from the south. Others looked toward the Walmart while waiting for news of their loved ones.
Aaron Stephens, 44, was in the self-checkout line at Walmart when he heard a single shot fired, followed by more bursts of gunfire. He said customers started screaming and running for the exits.
“I was scared,” Stephens said. “I feared for my life.”
Brandon Bonney said he received a call from his brother, Edward, from inside the store. “Bro, I’m inside Walmart, and there’s a shooting here,” he said.
Brandon said he told his brother to “just get somewhere and hide.” Edward started crying and Brandon told him to put his phone on silent and to stay calm. He said he hadn’t heard from Edward since.
Jay Quawrn Thompson, 18, was working in the back of the Walmart when he heard gunshots and then saw a screaming woman running toward him.
“A lady came running back, screaming about the shots. I got her out,” said Thompson, who just started work at the store a month ago.
Together, they ran out of the back of the store and then sat down and waited for help. Police stopped to make sure they were OK and then told them to get to safety.
Thompson was standing in the parking lot of the Golden Corral with no coat when Manny Colmenero stopped and asked if he was cold. When the teenager said yes, Colmenero took off his own coat and gave it to Thompson — and told him to keep it.
Colmenero, whose wife works for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, talked about shootings that have dominated the news here and abroad.
“You see this stuff everywhere now,” he said. “We got to help each other out.”
Police warned people in the area to stay away from the shopping center. Streets leading to the area were blocked by emergency vehicles, and police officers armed with long guns were standing at intersections.