DALLAS COUNTY, AL (WSFA) – A tense ordeal inside a Dollar General store in Orrville ended with a gunman dead at the hands of a customer who decided to take action.
The fatal shooting happened around 12:45 p.m. Thursday on Highway 22.
Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr. says the gunman walked into the store waving a gun in the air and forced a cashier and customer at gunpoint towards a break room area. At that point, the customer pulled out a concealed weapon and shot the suspect in the chest once.
“He escorted a customer and a cashier toward a break room. The cashier went in first and the customer went in behind her and the individual had the gun on the customer and the customer had a pistol concealed in a holster and when the customer got to the door, he turned around and shot the individual,” Huffman told WSFA.
The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene. The entire incident played out in less than five minutes, police said.
Other customers and delivery men were inside the store at the time of the incident. Several customers making their way into the store saw the man waving a gun and ran away.
The Dollar General store was closed Thursday afternoon following the shooting. A sign on the front door indicated it would reopen Friday. WSFA was asked to leave the property by Dollar General management.
There was another sign on the doors of the business stating that open carry of a weapon was not allowed inside the store. According to the sheriff, the customer’s gun was concealed and inside a holster. His investigators are confirming whether or not the customer has a valid concealed carry permit.
“The deceased individual had his in his hand, waving it. The customer actually had one in a holster covered up. We’re in the process of checking on permits and all of that. To have a gun conceal, you need a permit. To carry it open carry, you don’t. But you have a sign in a place of business, that’s letting you know that the people inside that place of business do not want guns in there,” the sheriff said.
Huffman did not release the names of the people involved to 12 News Thursday. He did say the gunman was from Orrville. The investigation is ongoing and detectives are interviewing everyone who was present at the time of the shooting and reviewing surveillance footage of the incident. The security video has not yet been released but the sheriff said it would be “forthcoming.”
No other customers or employees were injured.
The customer is not facing any charges at this time. Sheriff Huffman says his department’s findings would be turned over to a grand jury for review. He says the incident is currently being called a death investigation.
“You have one individual waving a gun and you have another one who shoots the one waving the gun. Some people say that’s justifiable.Then you’re going to have some who says it’s not. I think we need to get all of the information we can get from everybody and then go forward from there,” the sheriff said in an interview.
The gunman’s motive remains unclear. Sheriff Huffman does not think it was a robbery. He says words were exchanged between the gunman and the people inside the store but there was never any mention of a robbery or hold up or money.
An autopsy will be conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
Local residents reacted Thursday as news of the incident spread.
“It’s a shame because we never had anything like this done in this area before. Now we fear the streets when we walk into stores and stuff. It’s very shocking. I hate what happened,” said Nicole Miller.
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