January 16, 2014 / 8:40 AM / 6 years ago

Gunman, two others dead in Indiana supermarket shooting

(Reuters) - A 22-year-old man was identified by police on Thursday as the gunman who killed a shopper and an employee at an Indiana supermarket before police shot him dead.

Indiana State Police photo shows Shawn Walter Bair in this image released on January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Indiana State Police/Handout

Shawn Bair opened fire at Martin’s Super Market in Elkhart, a city about 140 miles north of Indianapolis, around 10 p.m. on Wednesday when about a dozen people were in the store, police said.

Bair, wearing a heavy overcoat and armed with a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a hunting knife, had been in the store for about 30 minutes when he killed his first victim - a 20-year-old female employee, Indiana State Police spokesman Trent Smith said.

Bair shot at another female employee, missing her, before moving to another part of the store where he shot a 44-year-old female shopper multiple times, killing her, Smith said.

The gunman then took hostage a store manager who was on his knees and appeared to be praying, Smith said. Two Elkhart police officers entered the store and caught the attention of Bair, allowing the manager to escape down one aisle as the assailant ran down another aisle.

Police then shot and killed Bair, Smith said. The events were partly caught on videotape.

There is some indication Bair knew one of the victims in the shooting, Smith said.

“I wouldn’t say it was well planned but it was obviously thought out,” Smith said. “At this point it is tough to say what his motive was. We don’t even have all the pieces of the puzzle yet.”

Police were withholding the victims’ names, pending notification of their families.

“Obviously we have witnessed a senseless and tragic act of violence that has taken the lives of two people,” Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore said at the press conference. “It’s been a shock to our entire community.”

What appears to be Bair’s Facebook page contains disturbing, bloody images and posts, including a man’s bloodied face. His “likes” include the National Rifle Association, God, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

Smith said Bair lived with his parents, whose home has been searched.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Mary Wisniewski and Kevin Murphy, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Gunna Dickson

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