Lenexa, KS – An gunman entered Costco on Sunday and started pointing a gun at people. The gunman was taken down when he made the mistake of engaging Kansas City Kansas Police Captain Michael Howell in a gunfight.
The Lenexa Police Department responded to the scene shortly after 11 a.m., after they received a call that a man, later identified as Ronald Hunt, 58, was brandishing a weapon inside the store, the Kansas City Star reported.
According to KCTV, witnesses said the man was pointing a gun and yelling as he came in.
Off-duty KCK Police Captain Michael Howell drew his gun and identified himself as a law enforcement officer. That’s when Hunt engaged the captain in a gunfight, and Hunt lost.
The 22-year police veteran fatally shot the gunman, who was pronounced dead on scene.
No other injuries were reported.
Captain Howell “was shopping, and just happened to be there when all of this occurred,” Lenexa Police Captain Wade Borchers told the Kansas City Star.
Witnesses inside the store said they heard six to eight shots from the shooter, who they described as a white man in his 50’s to 60’s, wearing camo, according to KSHB.
“I don’t know what his intent was, but before anything really bad could happen, he was stopped,” Capt. Borchers told KCTV.
Holiday weekend shoppers fled the busy store and parking lot when the shooting occurred, in what Capt. Borchers described as a “mass exodus.”
“I was working at the photo center, I was working on a photo scan, and I was looking at the computer screen, and then I heard some commotion happening around me,” Costco employee Ryan Vacca told WDAF.
“And I turned and looked at the front door and saw a guy walking in just kind of yelling and screaming. One of my co-workers told me to drop, and I did,” Vacca added.
WDAF was sure to point out that, according to Costco’s website, it’s against the company’s policy to take a gun inside any of its stores. However, Kansas law requires buildings that ban guns to post signs about their policy, and WDAF reported there were no signs posted on the exterior of the Costco Lenexa building.
It’s not clear if the news station is suggesting that signs would have prevented the gunman from entering, or prevented the gunman from being stopped by the captain.
Highway Patrol troopers obtained contact information from customers leaving the parking lot in order to aid the investigation, if necessary. Monday morning, shoppers and employees were permitted to return to the Costco parking lot to get their vehicles, WDAF reported.
The Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Team is investigating the shooting.