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Customer, employee among 5 injured in Mount Vernon Walmart shooting

Five people were taken to the hospital after a shooting at a Mount Vernon Walmart. Police said the shooting happened after an altercation between two groups of men.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Five people were injured in a shooting during an altercation between two groups of people inside a Mount Vernon Walmart Sunday night.

Mount Vernon police said the people injured include a 72-year-old man who was a customer at the store and a 24-year-old man who is a Walmart employee. The other three people injured were all 19-year-old men who were involved in the altercation, police said.

No arrests have been made.

According to the Mount Vernon Police Department, officers responded to the Walmart located on the 2300 block of Freeway Drive around 9:50 p.m. for a “Weapon Offense” call with reports of shots being fired inside the building.

Investigators said the shooting happened after a group of men entered the store and got into an altercation with a different group of men who were already inside. Police said shots were fired during the altercation.

Jessica Boots of Concrete said she and her fiancé were in the soda aisle and heading to the checkout when the shooting started.

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“The gunshots started firing, and it sounded like it was right next to us,” said Boots, who was on a date night. “I looked back at my fiancé because he was a little bit behind me. and everybody started screaming, running through the front doors.”

Boots said she and her fiancé ran across the street and walked down to the Lowes. She said the store was closed, but employees let them inside. Boots said she was talking to her mom on the phone as she was running away from the store.

“Maybe it's because she's my mom, but just hearing her voice [on the phone] just kind of made me freak out a little bit more as I was running because I didn't know you know [if] that was the last time I would talk to her,” Boots said. “Or if, you know, I was gonna get shot from behind, anything, I didn't know anything was going, I was just shaking, and I was, I ran. That's all I could do is run.”

Police said three people were taken to Skagit Valley Hospital by medics and two others arrived in private vehicles. The 72-year-old man, 24-year-old employee and one of the 19-year-old men were later taken to Harborview Medical Center for further treatment. 

The conditions of those injured are currently unknown.

“There is no indication that this was a situation where individuals entered the store intending an active threat event,” Mount Vernon police said in a press release.

The shooting happened about an hour before the store closed.

Kristie Johnson is a mom from Arlington who was inside the store grocery shopping with her 3-year-old and 14-year-old daughters at the time of the shooting.

She said she heard the gunshots but told KING 5 she wasn’t sure if it was gunfire or an employee working on or hitting a shelf until she heard an announcement on the overhead speaker telling all customers and employees to exit the store immediately.

“My daughter's like, ‘It was gunshots.’ I said, ‘It was gunshots – hide,’” Johnson said.

Johnson said she hid in the garden section of the store with her children and called 911 to let the police know where they were.

“In that section of the store, there was like this big metal shelf with big boxes, and so we hid behind there, and then I called 911 to let them know where we were,” Johnson said.

The 911 dispatcher told Johnson to stay hidden, and that police were on the way. Johnson, who said she is a nurse, said she knew people were shot when she saw so many medics responding to the store.

“At that point, all of a sudden, I mean I’ve never seen so many police, like, because we could see through the glass, we couldn’t get out," Johnson said.
I tried all the doors, but it was all locked up.”

During the shooting, a shopper was separated from their puppy, which was inside a shopping cart. Police are looking to reunite the pet with its owner and asking for the public's help.

Anyone with information or anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call the Mount Vernon police 24-hour dispatch information number at (360) 428-3211 or (360) 336-6271 during business hours.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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