Bend, Oregon shooting: Victim fought to disarm gunman during Oregon grocery store shooting that left 2 dead, police say

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Two people were killed in the incident, police said. They were identified as Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, a customer who was shot in front of the store, and Safeway employee Donald Ray Surrett Jr., 66, who fought the gunman in the product section, Miller said.

“This is the Safeway employee who had contact with the gunman, i.e. he tried to disarm the gunman and attack this person, and we believe he prevented further deaths in addition to the prompt response of the police,” said Miller. “Mr. Surrett acted heroically in this horrific incident.”

The gunman – identified by police as Ethan Blair Miller, 20 – was found dead at the scene and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the police spokesman said.

Police found an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun close to Miller’s body, according to Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz.

The shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. in a shopping center on Sunday, Krantz said. Police initially received reports that there may have been more than one gunman, Sheila Miller said, but there is no evidence of a second gunman. There were reports of at least two other people who had injuries that were also not life-threatening, she said.

The motive remains unclear, but police are aware of online messages that may be relevant, Sheila Miller said.

“We are aware that the gunman may have posted information online about his plan. We are investigating this. We have no evidence of previous threats or prior knowledge from the gunman. We received information about the gunman’s writings after the incident occurred and the shooter has no criminal record in the area,” Miller said.

The Sunday shooting follows a string of other supermarket shootings in the past year and amid an overall increase in “active shooting incidents,” according to an FBI report.
In May, 10 people were killed in what authorities say was a racially motivated attack in Buffalo, New York. A “hero” guard and a beloved teacher were among those shot.
In March, another 10 people were shot at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Among the dead was an experienced police officer with seven children.
Last September, a gunman shot 15 people — including one fatally — at a Kroger in Collierville, Tennessee. Some people hid in freezers to survive.

How the shooting went

Miller said police received multiple shots at the Forum shopping center in northeast Bend around 7 p.m.

The gunman entered from an apartment complex behind the mall, Miller said. He walked through the parking lot firing bullets from an AR-15 style rifle before heading onto the Safeway.

Once inside, he shot a customer — Glenn Edward Bennett — who died while being taken to hospital, Miller said.

The gunman made his way through the store before getting into an altercation with Donald Ray Surrett Jr. which he fatally shot, Miller said.

“When our officers responded, they entered Safeway while the shooting was still ongoing. They found the gunman dead in Safeway,” Miller said.

An AR-15 and a shotgun were found near the gunman’s body, Miller said. Bend police fired no shots, she said.

How the gunman obtained the firearms is under investigation. Due to online reports, Bend police also contacted the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad, which cleared the grocery store and apartment complex, Miller said.

Police say it’s not clear how many people were in the store at the time of the shooting.

Officers were on the scene within three minutes of the initial 911 call, Miller said. It took four minutes from when officers were dispatched to when the gunman’s body was found, police said.

Shooter posted plans online

A search warrant was issued on the shooter’s vehicle and home, Miller said. Investigators found three Molotov cocktails in his car, along with a sawed-off shotgun. Police are working with the ATF to investigate whether the firearms were legal.

In his apartment, authorities found additional ammunition and digital devices that are currently under review.

CNN has identified several blog posts that appear to belong to Ethan Miller and have been published on the “Wattpad” blog site, detailing his plan and reasons for the shooting. The posts have since been removed and CNN has contacted the blog site.

"Active shooter"  incidents rose more than 50% last year, FBI report finds

Miller published his first blog on June 29, when he blamed Covid-19 and quarantine for deteriorating mental health.

Initially, Miller was reported to have planned a high school shooting on Sept. 8.

More than 35 messages have been posted in the past two months. Most indicated that he wanted to commit violence.

One post said he was “partially inspired” by the Columbine High School shooting.

In other posts, Miller cited several reasons why he turned into a “ticking time bomb,” including his family and his love life, which he described in a July 8 post.

He wrote that he bought a shotgun and an AR-15 before the shooting and said he hoped to kill more than 40 people.

Miller also references other mass shootings in his entries.

“I immediately turned to my kids and said, ‘Run!'”

Customers and employees described a chaotic scene at Safeway and said they were looking for safety as the bullets flew.

Josh Caba told CNN affiliate KTVZ that he and his four children were shopping at the store when the gunshots broke out.

“We started moving forward. Then we heard I don’t know how many shots there are in front – six or seven. I immediately turned to my kids and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming… it was a horrific experience,” Caba told KTVZ.

America's struggle with mass shootings has changed the way these people live their lives

Caba said he was concerned about his wife, who stayed in the car because she wasn’t feeling well. But when he and three of his children fled through the exit doors of the fresh produce department, he found that his wife had driven to the back of the store and “sat in the car and said, ‘Get in the car! Get in! KTVZ reported.

The father was able to quickly run back into the store and find their fourth child, he told KTVZ.

An employee who identified himself only as Robert told the Central Oregon Daily News that he and other employees were working a closing crew at the sandwich shop when they heard loud gunfire.

“Me and three other employees ran into a walk-in refrigerator and closed the door and stayed there and remained hidden until authorities arrived,” he said.

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A third person was hit and in good condition at St. Charles Medical Center, spokesman Lisa Goodman said.

Residents in the central city of Oregon were stunned by the shooting.

“I heard anywhere from five to eight shots. I thought it sounded like a backfire,” Heather Thompson, who lives across the street, told Central Oregon Daily News.

“Not even a minute later there were 10 to 20 shots, and then another 10 to 20 shots,” she said. “And by that time I went in and told my dad to get away from the window. And people were running out of Safeway.”

CNN’s Holly Yan and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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