GLENDALE, Ariz. — Two Wal-Mart employees were shot to death Tuesday as they gathered shopping carts in the parking lot of one of the retail stores in suburban Phoenix, and police later arrested the suspected gunman.
The shootings occurred in the middle of the parking lot, about 75 yards from the store entrance. At one point, a body could be seen in one of the corrals used for collecting shopping carts.
Hours later, police spokesman Mike Pena said a suspect had been arrested without incident in a retirement community in nearby Peoria.
Investigators initially sent a robot to Ed Lui’s door, fearing he could still be armed. The man came out with his hands up and was booked on two counts of first-degree murder, Pena said.
No known motive
Authorities did not have a motive for shootings. It does not appear Lui knew the victims or had a vendetta against them or Wal-Mart, Pena said. The gunman did not appear to have been under the influence of any substance.
“We don’t know why he did this. This was barbaric,” Pena said.
Lui drove into the parking lot, got out of his car and shot each victim several times with a handgun. It does not appear Lui spoke with the victims, he said.
The gunman then drove away but was followed by two witnesses who were able to provide license plate numbers that police used to track Lui’s car.
After he was captured, Lui was calm at the police station, answering ’yes’ and ’no’ questions, Pena said. He did not know whether Lui had a criminal record.
The victims were identified as Anthony Spangler, 18, and Patrick Graham, who was either 18 or 19. Both were from Glendale.
Delia Garcia, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman on the scene, said the two young men were collecting shopping carts when the gunfire broke out. She said the store would be closed at least until Wednesday.
“This is an extremely tragic situation,” company spokeswoman Sharon Weber said from Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
Authorities initially kept customers inside the store, but they were later allowed to leave.
Lisa Crider said the store was filled with screaming people who were trying to get out. “It was just pure chaos,” she told The Arizona Republic. Crider said she initially tried to stay inside the store but later fled.
Late Tuesday, police had cordoned off the suspect’s neighborhood about two miles from the Wal-Mart. Plainclothes officers roamed through the area of stuccoed homes with red-tile roofs and desert landscaping.
At the scene of the shooting, police also cordoned off much of the store’s parking lot, telling anyone whose car was within a perimeter that they would have to leave their vehicles there.
Some of the store’s 450 employees could be seen leaving the business Tuesday evening. The company planned to offer help for workers upset by the shootings, Garcia said.
The scene of the shooting was about 20 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix.
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