Aaron Christopher Kelly, 39, is the suspect in the deadly shooting earlier that day
The man wanted for shooting up a Fred Meyer grocery store, killing one and critically injuring another, was identified Monday night as officers continued their manhunt for him.
In a Monday evening Facebook post, the Richland, Washington Police Department confirmed that Aaron Christopher Kelly, 39, is the suspect in the deadly shooting earlier that day.
Kelly was last seen in surveillance footage inside the grocery store pushing a shopping cart while wearing a ‘black puffy sleeveless shell/vest over black and gray plaid shirt and light colored pants or jeans,’ authorities reported.
He fled the scene after opening fire at around 11am and remained on the loose Monday evening. He is believed to have fled in a 2005 Honda Civic.
Police had earlier said they had identified the suspect but would not release his name, only telling reporters that he has had previous ‘contact with law enforcement.’
Authorities have said Kelly was seen in surveillance footage in a heated discussion with Justin Krumbah, 38, an Instacart shopper, before he opened fire at around 11am Pacific Time at the supermarket on Wellsian Way in Richland, located about 200 miles southeast of Seattle.
A $1 million nationwide warrant is now out for Kelly’s arrest, according to the Tri-City Herald, charging him with premeditated first-degree murder in the shooting that left a 38-year-old Instacart shopper dead and a store employee critically wounded.
Kelly is considered ‘armed and dangerous,’ and officials urge residents not to approach him if they find him.
The accused gunman, dressed in a plaid shirt and a dark-colored vest, is seen pushing a shopping cart out the door of the grocery store
Police in Richland, Washington, had earlier released photos of Kelly as they tried to identify him. He is accused of opening fire inside a local Fred Meyer supermarket on Monday, leaving at least one person dead and another wounded
Police and sheriff’s deputies from around the area started receiving calls about possible shots being fired at the store at 11.03am and converged on the scene within a minute. Dispatch officers reported at the time that the shooter was still in the building and at least one person was down.
The Tri-City Herald reported that a chaplain was also summoned.
Officers and members of the Richland Fire Department quickly began life-saving operations, but Kumbrah was pronounced dead on the scene.
An unnamed store employee was also wounded and transported to a local hospital for treatment. He remained in critical condition Monday afternoon as he underwent surgery.
Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called in to assist. The ATF later announced it was sending agents from its Yakima field office to help with the investigation.
SWAT teams were also on the scene Monday morning, and confirmed that the suspect was no longer in the building.
Justin Krumbah, 38, was identified as the victim killed in a shooting at a Richland, Washington Fred Meyer grocery store Monday morning
At least a half-dozen schools in the vicinity of the store were placed on lockdown as a precaution. People were being asked to avoid the area as the local school district provided buses to reunite those who were stuck inside with their families.
Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call 509-628-0333.
One witness reported hearing at least 10 shots fired inside the store, the Herald reported.
Grocery store workers and customers reportedly huddled in stock rooms, restrooms and back offices, awaiting police to lead them to safety.
‘The terror in the eyes of these people that came and took cover in my shop,’ a nearby business owner, Robert Cronkite told KIRO Newsradio. ‘I just, I mean, I had never seen terror in anyone’s eyes quite like what I saw there.’
‘The guy that did it …He literally walked out of there, casually pushing a shopping cart. And you can see the satchels, you know, the gurney bag, wherever he’s got these guns when he walked out. He gets in his white Dodge pickup, and the guy drives off.’
In a statement, a spokesperson for the supermarket chain said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred at our Fred Meyer store located on 101 Wellsian Way in Richland, Washington.
‘The entire Fred Meyer family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to all affected individuals and families during this difficult time.’
The spokesperson added: ‘We are cooperating with local law enforcement who have secured the store and parking lot. The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have initiated counseling services for our associates.’
Grocery store employees and customers were seen fleeing the Fred Meyer on Monday
SWAT Teams were called in to assist local law enforcement in the shooting
Ambulances and police vehicles are seen outside the supermarket on Wellsian Way
Store employees and customers were hiding in stock rooms, restrooms and back offices until police could come and lead them to safety
Following the shooting, friends and co-workers took to social media to remember Kumbra, who they said always wore a smile as he bought groceries for his clients.
Friends and co-workers took to social media within hours of the shooting Monday morning to post tributes to Kumbah, who they described as ‘outgoing,’ and ‘always had a smile on his face.’
A GoFundMe was also set up to raise money for his funeral expenses, and by 9pm local time, it had already raised $9,260, with many people sharing their condolences and remembering Krumbah for his outgoing personality.
‘He always had a smile on his face an was an absolute joy to be around,’ wrote Alexander Weeks, a store employee at the Richland Fred Meyer. ‘He was far and away one of my favorite parts of coming in and made those extra hard days seem not so bad.’
Destiny Underwood, whose Facebook page identifies her as the deli manager at the Fred Meyer posted that she planned to start a credit union donation for Krumbah so donations could go directly to his family.
‘He was an amazing guy,’ she wrote. ‘I always ha a bit of a better day when h was in.
‘It’s truly heartbreaking that he had to go to heaven today.’
Tributes had also poured into his Facebook page, where Krumbah often posted pictures of himself in different outfits as he began his Instacart shift every day.
His most recent post, on January 26, showed him donning an apron emblazoned with the Seattle Seahawks logo with the caption: ‘Hi ho, hi ho, off to work I go.’
A friend at the time asked: ‘You wear an apron now?’ to which Krumbah responded: ‘I take pride in my work no matter what I do! Always gotta be professional.’
Many more people commented on the photo following the news of the shooting, with one Richland woman saying she met him in the checkout line of the Fred Meyer last Saturday and spoke ‘about how you enjoyed Instacart and how you approached it with an outstanding work ethic.
‘My day was made by your positive, can-do attitude.’
A man immediately replied to the comment writing that he had the same experience working with Krumbah, calling him a ‘very positive and outgoing man.’
And another woman wrote that Krumbah was her family’s Instacart driver ‘every time we shopped at Fred Meyer.
‘You always sent a message when you accepted our order and said it was a pleasure to shop for us again,’ she wrote. ‘I never got to meet you, but your friendly messages made my day every time we used Instacart.
‘The world lost a light today,’ she added.