What We Know About The Bend, Oregon Shooting That Left 2 Dead

What We Know About The Bend, Oregon Shooting That Left 2 Dead

A violent weekend in several US cities 3:05

(WABNEWS) — As shoppers at a Safeway grocery store in Bend, Oregon, wandered the aisles and pondered their product choices Sunday night, a 20-year-old gunman burst into the building and began shooting. , killing two people and wounding at least two others.

Police responded to the Forum Shopping Center, where the Safeway is located, around 7 pm, authorities said. As they ran into the store, they could hear gunshots, but later discovered that the gunman had died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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The shooter, identified by police as Bend resident Ethan Blair Miller, entered the mall wielding an AR-15-style rifle and shotgun and began shooting in the parking lot before entering the grocery store, according to authorities.

As investigators work to uncover the shooter’s motive, here’s what we know about the shooting.

How the attack unfolded

Police responded to a shooting at a Safeway in Bend, Oregon, on Sunday night.

The gunman entered through an apartment complex behind the mall, Bend Police Department spokeswoman Sheila Miller said.

He then began firing an AR-15-style rifle as he walked across the parking lot. Upon entering the store, he shot shopper Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, who died on the way to the hospital.

The gunman kept moving through the store and shooting, Miller said. In the produce department, Safeway employee Donald Ray Surrett, Jr., 66, confronted the gunman and was fatally shot, he said.

After receiving 911 calls about a shooting in progress, officers with the Bend Police Department were on the scene within 3 minutes, Miller said.

Shots were heard as they broke into the Safeway, Miller said. Almost immediately, cops found the gunman dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he said.

The rifle and shotgun were found near the attacker’s body, Police Chief Mike Krantz said. Investigators also found three Molotov cocktails and a sawed-off shotgun in his car along with additional ammunition in his apartment, according to authorities. Police are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to determine if he legally owned the firearms.

There were reports of two people injured in the shooting who did not have life-threatening injuries, Miller said. It is not clear to police how many people were in the store during the attack.

Bend police contacted the Oregon State Police Bomb Squad after learning of the online postings, Miller said. The bomb squad cleared out the grocery store and the nearby apartment complex.

An employee dies while trying to disarm the attacker

As the shooter made his way through the store, Surrett confronted him, lunging at him and trying to disarm him, Miller said. Surrett was shot to death and authorities have praised his quick action, saying he likely saved lives.

“While we are still gathering the facts about last night’s shooting, it is clear that many more people could have died were it not for the heroism of Donald Ray Surrett, Jr., who stepped in to help stop the shooter, and the officers who entered while gunfire continued,” Governor Kate Brown said in a statement.

“In the face of senseless violence, they acted with selfless courage. Their courage saved lives,” Brown said.

Another employee who identified himself only as Robert told the Central Oregon Daily News that he and other employees were working a closing shift at the deli when they heard loud gunshots.

“Three other employees and I ran into a cold room and closed the door and stayed there and hid until the authorities arrived,” he said.

Josh Caba told WABNEWS affiliate KTVZ that he and his four children were out shopping when the shooting began.

“We started heading towards the front. Then we heard I don’t know how many shots to the front, six or seven. I immediately turned to my children and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming…it was a horrible experience,” Caba told KTVZ.

Caba said he was worried about his wife, who stayed in the car because she wasn’t feeling well. But when he and three of his children fled out the exit doors of the produce department, he discovered that his wife had driven to the back of the store and was “sitting in the car, saying ‘Get in the car! Get in the car! to the car!'” KTVZ reported.

The father was able to run back to the store and find his fourth child, he told KTVZ.

The attacker’s plans appeared to have been posted online.

Police have said they know the shooter may have posted information online about Sunday’s shooting, as well as plans for future shootings, but did not share any details.

“We have no evidence of prior threats or prior knowledge of the attacker,” Miller said. “We received information about the attacker’s writings after the incident occurred and the attacker has no criminal record in the area.”

While executing a search warrant at his apartment, authorities found digital devices that are currently being searched, authorities said.

WABNEWS has identified several blog entries that appear to be by Ethan Miller that were posted on the “Wattpad” blog site detailing a plan and reasons for the shooting. The posts were made public on the night of August 28 through an anonymous account and could be viewed for 12 hours, according to Wattpad. The posts have since been deleted.

The first blog entry was dated June 29 and signed with the name Ethan. The post’s writer blamed covid-19 and quarantine for worsening his mental health.

This person initially planned a shooting inside a high school on September 8, according to the posts.

The same account made more than 35 posts on the blog site. Most posts indicated a desire to commit violence.

One post referenced being “partly inspired” by the Columbine High School shooting.

In other posts signed under Ethan’s name, various reasons were cited for why the author became a “ticking time bomb,” including his family and love life, which was detailed in a post dated July 8.

The perpetrator mentioned purchasing a shotgun and an AR-15 for the shootout, saying he expected to kill more than 40 people.

Throughout the posts, other mass shootings were also referenced.

WABNEWS’s Tina Burnside, Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Caroll Alvarado and Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.

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