Tuesday 27 September 2016

Man shot dead by police after taking hostages at Wal-Mart store

Published 15/06/2016 | 00:36

Armed police at the scene at a Wal-Mart store in Amarillo, Texas (Michael Schumacher/Amarillo Globe News/AP)
Armed police at the scene at a Wal-Mart store in Amarillo, Texas (Michael Schumacher/Amarillo Globe News/AP)

Police in Texas have shot dead an armed man in a Wal-Mart store after he took two people hostage, including a manager with whom he reportedly had a work-related dispute.

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Amarillo police department identified the man as 54-year-old store employee Mohammad Moghaddam, and said neither hostage was injured.

Officers said the incident began over a dispute related to a promotion and called the incident a "workplace violence event", adding that investigators had no reason to believe it was tied to terrorism.

Officers responded to a reported shooting at the store amid reports that an armed person was inside and may have had hostages. Police later said officers made their way inside the store and that a SWAT crew shot the suspect. No other injuries were reported.

Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick said all store associates and customers were safe. He thanked officers, saying: "This was a very difficult situation and we are thankful for the quick response from law enforcement."

Authorities said the investigation is ongoing in Amarillo, a city in the Texas Panhandle. Some nearby streets were closed as a precaution during the incident.

The city released a statement earlier in the day, saying only that emergency officials were on the scene of an "active shooter incident".

Sergeant Brent Barbee said: "This individual had an ongoing difference, dispute or feud with a manager at Wal-Mart. There is absolutely no information or reason to believe that this is a terrorist event."

According to investigators, Moghaddam entered the store and fired one shot towards the ceiling. Police do not believe the suspect, who was armed with a handgun, fired any other shots.

Authorities initially believed he took a hostage and went into an office in the back of the store, according to a police statement.

"We knew there were hostages inside the business, so (SWAT) went in with the intent to free the hostages," Sgt Barbee said.

SWAT officers watched who they had believed was the only hostage come out of the office. The officers entered the room and discovered the second hostage.

"The suspect was still armed with a handgun and was a threat to the hostage and the officers. Two SWAT officers fired shots which hit the suspect. Initial information is that the suspect died immediately," police said in a statement.

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