Two women were shot and a man was arrested on Monday after an apparent confrontation at a Georgia grocery store packed with shoppers buying supplies ahead of a winter storm that has prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency, police said.
Authorities said they did not know what sparked the lunchtime shooting at a crowded Kroger supermarket in suburban Atlanta or whether the two customers knew each other or the suspect. Both women were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, the store was closed temporarily, and police were interviewing witnesses.
Schools and businesses are shuttering for the next two days as Georgia braces for a blast of freezing rain, snow and ice. Residents flocked to grocery stores on Monday for bread, milk and other essentials.
As a result, Lawrenceville Police Captain Greg Vaughn said, the store "was a very chaotic scene" at the time the shooting happened.
"This Kroger is actually pretty busy anyway, and you're looking at noontime, and then they had extra customers in here stocking up for our snowstorm," Vaughn said.
Georgia and much of the U.S. South is still reeling from a rare winter storm two weeks ago that blasted the region, killing five people, stranding children overnight at schools, leaving drivers stuck in snow drifts and keeping airline flights on the ground.
Several people witnessed the shooting incident at Kroger. Officials of the grocery store chain said the incident appeared to be isolated, but they closed the store temporarily. Police believe the situation is resolved and they do not believe anyone remains in danger, Vaughn said.
Kroger officials expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and said no Kroger employees were injured.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and David Gregorio)