A former employee of a Walmart distribution center in Northern California has been identified as the alleged active shooter who was killed by police after he drove his SUV through the front door of the facility and opened fire on workers with a semiautomatic rifle, authorities said.
The suspect is believed to have killed one employee at the distribution center in Red Bluff and injured multiple workers in the rampage on Saturday afternoon, police said.
The alleged gunman was identified as 31-year-old Louis Lane, according to the Tehama County Sheriff's Office.
“We understand that he has a prior history with the Walmart distribution center as an employee,” Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said at a news conference Saturday night. “But that was not recent -- it’s been a while, it’s been a year and a half.”
A motive for the shooting at the Walmart facility remained under investigation on Sunday, authorities said.
The shooting occurred about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in the small town about 130 miles north of Sacramento.
The suspected gunman showed up at the warehouse in a white SUV and circled the parking lot four times before driving into the front lobby, Johnston said at a news conference. He said the gunman got out of the vehicle as it burst into flames.
"When he exits the vehicle, he is carrying a long gun, a semi-automatic weapon of some kind," Johnston said.
About 200 workers were inside the warehouse when the shooting unfolded, witnesses told reporters.
The suspect began shooting at employees, killing one worker, identified as Matin Haro-Lozano, 45, of Orland, California, according to a statement the sheriff's office released late Saturday.
Johnston said a Red Bluff police officer responded to reports of an active shooter at the center, arriving at the scene within six minutes.
“That officer engaged the suspect and had an exchange of gunfire," Johnston said.
He said a shootout erupted outside the facility in the parking lot.
He said a second officer showed up as the gunman was still firing at the first officer.
''The exchange of gunfire between the Red Bluff police officers and the shooter was multiple rounds,'' Johnston said, adding that at least 30 rounds were fired in the gunbattle that lasted about two minutes before the suspect was mortally wounded.
He said Lane was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers found a gravely wounded Haro-Lozano and other injured employees when they swept the building in search of other suspects. They determined that Lane allegedly acted alone in the rampage.
Johnston said police officers put Haro-Lozano in a patrol car and drove him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Autopsies are scheduled to be performed on Lane and Haro-Lozano on Monday.
Six other employees suffered minor to moderate injuries in the episode, according to the sheriff's office.
The two Red Bluff police officers who engaged the suspect in the shootout were placed on administrative leave in keeping with the protocol for officer-involved shootings, authorities said.
While the sheriff's office is the lead investigative agency in the shooting, the Tehama County District Attorney is investigating the officers’ roles in the shootout with the suspects.
The sheriff’s office is leading the investigating of the shooting while the Tehama County District Attorney is specifically probing the actions of the officers involved in the incident.