Suspect arrested in Washington state grocery store shooting

Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press

Spokane, Wash. – A man suspected of opening fire inside a grocery store in Washington state, killing one person and injuring another, was arrested late Monday night on Interstate 90 near Spokane, police said.

Aaron Christopher Kelly, 39, was arrested on the freeway between the town of Sprague and Spokane, a, Richland police said in a Facebook posting.

Aaron Christopher Kelly

“Kelly will be transported back to the Tri-Cities and booked into the Benton County Jail on Murder 1st Degree and Attempted Murder 1st Degree,” Richland police wrote. “We thank the numerous law enforcement partners that quickly collaborated to apprehend this subject.”

It wasn’t clear if Kelly had an attorney yet who could speak on his behalf. Details of how the arrest unfolded were not immediately available.

Kelly had been identified by police earlier Monday as the suspect in the shooting at a Fred Meyer store in Richland in south-central Washington. Kelley had contact with law enforcement in the past, police said.

Police dispatchers in Richland received a call reporting yelling and possible gunshots in the store at 11:03 a.m. Monday The first officers responding arrived just one minute later, police said.

Richland interim Police Chief Brigit Clary said responding officers found the two victims near each other in the store and said that although life-saving measures were tried, one had already died.

This image from security camera video provided by the Richland, Wash., police shows a shooting suspect at a Fred Meyer store in Richland on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.

The wounded victim was a store employee who was taken to a hospital, she said. He had surgery and was listed in critical condition, police said Monday afternoon. Neither victim was identified.

The suspect and the victim who died talked before the shooting, according to store video footage seen by police. Police said they don’t know what was said and whether the two knew each other. The person who died was not a store employee, according to police.

Employees and customers were escorted out of the store to a parking lot while officers went aisle by aisle searching for the shooter or other victims. No other victims were found, nor was the shooter, police said.

Fred Meyer officials said in a statement on Twitter they were deeply saddened and cooperating with law enforcement.

“The entire Fred Meyer Family offers our thoughts, prayers, and support to all affected individuals and families during this difficult time, and we have initiated counseling services for our associates,” the statement said.

Richland is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. It’s part of the Tri-Cities area, which includes Kennewick and Pasco and has a combined population of more than 280,000.

Schools were placed on a partial lockdown Monday after the shooting.