Aberdeen, MD – Multiple people were killed and multiple more were wounded by a shooter at a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen on Thursday morning.
“At this time I can confirm multiple wounded and multiple fatalities,” Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told reporters at a press conference at noon.
The Associated Press reported that preliminary reports indicated that at least three people were dead, according to law enforcement sources.
WBAL reported that sources had said the shooter was a woman and that the total of victims was believed to be not more than 10.
More than 1,000 employees were inside the facility when the shooting began at about 9:06 a.m. on Sept. 20, Susan Henderson from Rite Aid said, according to WJZ-TV’s live broadcast.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to calls for shots fired in the business park area about 55 miles northeast of Baltimore, in the 1500-block of Perryman Road, in the area of Spesutia Road, WBAL reported.
Police were on the scene within five minutes of the first call to 911.
The business was put into lockdown and a perimeter was set up around the area while police, fire, and EMS personnel partnered up in teams and went into the building, Sheriff Gahler explained.
The sheriff said there was only one suspect, and that person was in custody and in critical condition at a nearby hospital.
He did not say if the shooter had turned the gun on herself, but he did say that no member of law enforcement had fired their weapon at the scene.
The shooter was armed with a single handgun, according to the sheriff.
Sheriff Gahler told reporters that the situation was under control, and that there was no longer a threat.
Police do not believe the suspect had any accomplices.
Victims were being transported to both Maryland and Delaware hospitals. As of noon, helicopters were still airlifting victims from the scene.
Officials repeatedly described the scene as a “fluid situation,” and witnesses and people who were inside the facility when the shooter went on the rampage were being evacuated from the buildings on to buses.
They were being reunited with their loved ones at a fire station in Havre de Grace.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman told reporters at the media briefing that the allied law enforcement agencies had come together seamlessly at the report of yet another active shooter incident within Harford County.
“Every agency performed at the top of their profession,” he said.
Eleven months ago, a gunman opened fire at Granite Solutions in a business park not unlike the one where the Rite Aid distribution center was located, only 10 miles away, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Three people were killed and two were wounded by a man who led police on a multi-state chase before he was captured “without incident” in Newark, Delaware.
Sheriff Gahler stressed repeatedly that it was very early in the investigation and all information released was “preliminary.” He also thanked all the agencies that had responded.
“We have responders here from the federal government who were on scene within minutes – the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, the [Maryland] State Police, the MDTA Police, the Natural Resources [Police], the local municipal departments of Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, and Bel Air,” the sheriff said.
“You can’t have enough police, and you can’t have them fast enough,” he said.
Nearby Church Creek Elementary School remained on a modified lockdown, and drivers were still being asked to avoid the area.
Officers continued to search the extensive building complex, and the all-clear signal had not yet been given at 1 p.m., WJZ reported.