Employee who attempted to disarm gunman among those killed in supermarket shooting, police say

The suspected shooter was also among the dead, according to police.

August 30, 2022, 8:58 PM

An employee who attempted to disarm a gunman was among the victims of a deadly shooting inside a Safeway supermarket in Oregon on Sunday evening, police said.

The incident was reported just after 7 p.m. local time at The Forum Shopping Center in Bend, a small city about 130 miles southeast of Oregon's capital, Salem. Two people were killed in the Safeway, and the armed suspect was also found dead inside the store from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Bend Police Department's communications director, Sheila Miller.

Miller released the identities of the two victims during a press conference on Monday: 84-year-old Bend resident Glenn Edward Bennett and 66-year-old Bend resident and Safeway employee Donald Ray Surrett Jr. Two others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Miller said.

Police said Tuesday that surveillance video shows that Surrett Jr., who worked in the produce department, had "ample time" to hide from the shooter but instead positioned a grocery cart so that when the suspect approached, he attacked him with a produce knife he kept on his hip.

Surveillance video also shows two community members re-entering the store to move the other victim, Bennett, outside to get medical aid, police said.

When asked for comment, a Safeway spokesperson told ABC News in a statement on Monday: "We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at our Safeway store on Highway 20 in Bend, Oregon, including the loss of a customer and a valued member of our team. Our thoughts and actions now are directed toward supporting our associates, customers, and the community affected by this tragedy. We thank the officers at the Bend Police Department for their response and will continue to support the department’s investigation over the coming days."

PHOTO: Police respond to the scene of a shooting incident in a Safeway supermarket in Bend, Ore., Aug. 28, 2022.
Police respond to the scene of a shooting incident in a Safeway supermarket in Bend, Ore., Aug. 28, 2022.
Central Oregon Daily News

The alleged gunman was also identified on Monday as 20-year-old Bend resident Ethan Blair Miller, who lived near the shopping center, according to Miller.

Police believe the suspect entered from the back of the shopping center on Sunday evening and initially fired into a Costco parking lot and a Big Lots store. There were no injuries reported at either of those locations, Miller said.

Police believe the suspect then entered the Safeway and shot Bennett near the west entrance. Bennett was transported to a local hospital where he was confirmed dead, according to Miller.

The suspect continued inside the supermarket, shooting and killing Surrett, who attempted to disarm him and likely saved other lives, Miller said.

PHOTO: Glass doors of a Big Lots store were shattered during a shooting incident at a nearby Safeway supermarket in Bend, Ore., Aug. 28, 2022.
Glass doors of a Big Lots store were shattered during a shooting incident at a nearby Safeway supermarket in Bend, Ore., Aug. 28, 2022.
Central Oregon Daily News

Police officers responding to the shooting entered the Safeway and found the alleged gunman dead inside the store. The officers fired no shots, according to Miller.

Surveillance footage later revealed that the suspect had turned the gun on himself, Miller said.

At a press conference late Sunday, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said the suspect was carrying an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun. Miller told reporters Monday that investigators are working to determine how the suspect obtained the weapons.

Krantz also noted the size of the crime scene, saying it will take time to collect and process all the evidence. He told reporters Monday that investigators have not yet determined a motive for the deadly shooting.

ABC News' Marilyn Heck and Flor Tolentino contributed to this report.

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