Police praise 'heroic' actions of employee after gunman opens fire inside Indiana Walmart

The suspect was fired last year after an arrest on battery charges, police said.

Police praised the "heroic" actions of an employee and officers who responded to an active shooting at a Walmart in Indiana on Thursday that left one person injured.

The gunman -- whom police said was a former employee who had been banned from the store -- was ultimately killed in a minuteslong shootout with officers.

"Last night could've been so, so much worse," Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson said during a press briefing Friday afternoon.

Employees ordered to line up

The incident unfolded just before 10 p.m. local time at the Walmart in Evansville, a riverside city about 180 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The suspect -- identified by police as 25-year-old Ronald Ray Mosley II -- allegedly walked into the store, went to an employee break room and ordered the dozen or so workers there to line up, according to the Evansville Police Department.

A female employee, a team lead at the store, managed to escape the room while the gunman's back was turned and called 911, according to Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin.

Meanwhile, the gunman shot one female employee, then chased a male employee who had run from the room and "was also an intended target," Bolin said during Friday's briefing.

The team lead returned to the break room when she saw the shooter leave and helped the wounded victim into another room and locked the door, Bolin said. While they hid there, the gunman returned to the original break room, the chief said.

"I have no doubt that he was going back to finish what he started and we would probably have a dead victim today instead of one that's alive," Bolin said, calling the team lead an "absolute hero."

Officers who quickly deployed to the scene immediately entered the Walmart looking for the gunman, as people in the store tried to hide or flee.

Seven Evansville Police officers and one Vanderburgh County Sheriff's deputy exchanged gunfire with the suspect both inside and outside the store, in multiple different areas, though the exact number of rounds was unclear, according to police.

"Multiple times he was actually shooting at officers before they were actually able to shoot him," Sgt. Anna Gray of the Evansville Police Department said at a press conference late Thursday.

The suspect was shot about 8 minutes after police arrived on scene and pronounced dead inside the store, authorities said. The entire incident lasted about 12 minutes from the first 911 call, according to police.

The wounded female employee was transported from the scene to a local hospital, then transported via medical helicopter to another hospital due to the extent of her injuries, police said. She is currently hospitalized in stable condition, police said Friday afternoon.

About 40 employees and 40 shoppers were in the store at the time, Gray said. Police do not believe there are any other wounded victims, she said. No officers were injured in the shootout.

Suspect had been barred from the store: Police

The suspect was arrested in May 2022 on four counts of battery against employees at the store, Gray said. Mosley allegedly punched, kicked and scratched several employees and slammed another to the ground following a heated exchange, according to an affidavit obtained by ABC News.

Mosley "stated he was being bullied at work and he lost control," and that he "blacked out" but recalled some of the fighting, according to the affidavit.

Mosley was fired after the incident and barred from the store, Gray said. Protective orders were also filed on behalf of four victims, she said. He pleaded guilty to the battery charges and entered the county's Mental Health Court program, officials said.

Hours before Thursday's shooting, Mosley was in Mental Health Court for a hearing related to the battery case, Gray said.

Police were working to determine whether there was any connection between the suspect and shooting victim beyond being coworkers. At least one of the employees in the break room at the time of the shooting was a victim in the battery case, Gray said.

"Based on the information at hand, we believe that Mosley was targeting the employees at this particular Walmart store," Gray said.

Police don't believe there are any other suspects involved at this time.

An apparent one-page suicide note was recovered from the alleged gunman's house during the execution of a search warrant, Gray said, though police did not go into further detail on the contents of the letter.

The shooting remains under investigation. In addition to collecting evidence from the scene and interviewing witnesses, investigators are reviewing footage from the responding officers' body-worn cameras as well as from Walmart's security cameras, according to police.

"This is a tragic incident. We can't imagine what the witnesses and employees and customers inside went through," Officer Taylor Merriss of the Evansville Police Department said at a press conference early Friday. "But without the bravery and professionalism of our department, there could've been a lot more lives lost last night."

Walmart told ABC News in a statement late Thursday that it "is shocked by the senseless violence that occurred at our Evansville store."

"As we learn more, we'll do everything we can to support our associates as they cope with this tragedy," the company added. "We're thankful for the local first responders and will continue working with law enforcement through the course of their investigation."

ABC News' Peter Charalambous, Ahmad Hemingway and Cherise Rudy contributed to this report.