Man Opens Fire in a Cheltenham Walmart
PHILADELPHIA — August 15, 2018
Five were wounded when a man opened fire inside a Cheltenham Walmart on Tuesday night. According to the police, he fired at least 10 shots throughout the store.
Among the victims were two policemen who were injured when the suspects crashed their getaway car into the back of a parked police cruiser a few blocks away, at Sedgwick Street and Forrest Avenue. Cheltenham Township Police Chief John Frye said that no one struck sustained life-threatening injuries. He added that the suspects are both the gunman and his female accomplice.
Preliminary indications suggest that they are siblings, Frye said.
Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said that the suspected shooter — who police did not identify — had been seen tossing a gun out of his car window before the collision, which occurred shortly after the shooting at around 6:07 p.m.
The man was arrested after a “violent struggle” during the course of which police had to use a Taser to subdue the gunman, as witnesses relayed.
In a 6ABC video, the suspect, while being led into the Cheltenham police station, the man said he believed his life was in danger.
“I’m sorry, man,” he said. “I thought somebody was going to kill me.”
Among the victims were two 40-year-old women who received gunshot wounds in their legs, two men with a graze wound to a leg, and another victim with unspecified non-life-threatening injuries. All of them were hospitalized at Roxborough Memorial Hospital. The woman in the car with the suspected shooter was taken to Einstein Medical Center for injuries which she suffered during the crash.
Witnesses at the store described the frantic scene that unfolded without warning.
Frye said it appeared that the man got into an argument with a customer in a checkout line, pulling a gun from the waistband of the woman he was with and starting to unload shots throughout the store. The chief said it was not clear whether the man hit any of his intended targets. Police believe the shooter was on “some type of drugs,” Frye said.
“I only heard the shots,” Darrell Archer, 27, who was a cashier, in the store said. “I wasn’t getting that close.”
She added that she saw a store manager had been shot in a leg, another cashier shot in a leg, and a customer shot in an arm. Jaynee Davis, 55, said she also heard at least four shots come from behind her. She ran with a group of customers to try to hide.
“We didn’t know whether the shooter was still in the store,” she said. “We were petrified and we were trying to be quiet.”
Another Walmart employee, Leenie Smith, 51, said that when she heard the gunfire, “I ducked down and ran away and tried to get out of there as fast as I could.”
Tammy Walking Stick, 50, from Collegeville, said she was about to enter the store to shop for food when she heard gunshots and saw a large crowd of people rush out the front of the store.
“It’s just crazy,” she said.
Frye said that a pregnant woman was also injured during the chaos when she fell; she was thankfully not struck by the gunfire.
Officials haven't specified what charges the shooter might face over the incident, but did say the gun allegedly tossed from his car was recovered. Police have also not suggested what charges will the shooter's accomplice will be facing.