KANSAS CITY — A man driving a dead woman’s car shot a police officer, then opened fire in a parking lot and a mall Sunday, authorities said. By the end of the day, four people, including the gunman, were dead.
Police shot the gunman to death outside a Target store inside Ward Parkway Center in south Kansas City, police spokesman Tony Sanders said.
Target employee Cassie Bradshaw, 19, was in a break room with two other people when they heard shots. Then, her co-workers saw a man in his 50s with a rifle “shooting everywhere,” she said.
“It sounded like maybe firecrackers at first, but then they got louder and louder and louder, and it sounded like someone shooting a gun,” she said outside the mall after completing her first shift at the retailer.
“I was scared and then we opened the door and the two other people that were with me saw the guy.”
The string of violence began early Sunday afternoon, when police went to a home to check on an elderly woman relatives hadn’t seen for days. The woman was found dead and her car missing, Sanders said.
The car was spotted later in the day at a gas station by an officer, who pulled the driver over and was shot in the arm as he attempted to arrest the man, police said. The 44-year-old veteran officer, whose wound was not life-threatening, returned fire and shattered a window of the gunman’s car.
The car took off and reports began arriving 10 to 15 minutes later of shots fired at the shopping center. The man pulled into a parking space and fired at the cars on either side of him, killing two people, authorities said. He fired more shots, wounding at least two people, then went inside the mall, Sanders said. His weapon was described as a “long gun.”
“Of course the mall was crowded with hundreds of people,” Sanders told reporters. “Everybody was leaving the mall when the officers ran inside. They confronted the man and after confronting him, shot and killed him.”
Police did not say how the elderly woman died or if the gunman was a suspect in her death. But they did say they believed the events were connected.
The mall was shut down and officers were going through each store to see if anyone else might have been involved or was wounded, Sanders said.
The gunman and victims’ names were not immediately released, and conditions of the wounded were not available.
The shooting sent shoppers and movie-goers scurrying for cover.
“My mom’s friend, she was with me and we were going to get popcorn, and we heard two gunshots,” said Yesenia Erives, 11, of Kansas City, who had been watching the movie “The Invisible.”
“A worker from the theaters he says to go back inside the theaters because there’s this guy that shot some people.”