The suspect in the fatal shooting of three people at a convenience store in Yakima, Washington, died early Tuesday morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon after borrowing a cell phone to call his mother, authorities said.
The suspected gunman, whom authorities identified as 21-year-old Jarid Haddock, asked to borrow a cell phone from a woman shopping near a Target store, Yakima Police Chief Matthew Murray said at a news conference. .
The witness who loaned the cell phone allegedly overheard Haddock’s conversation with his mother.
“He made several incriminating statements including, ‘I killed those people,'” Murray said. “He made several statements in front of her that he would later commit suicide.”
The woman was able to retrieve her phone from the suspect and call 911, Murray said.
“She was brave to take us there,” Murray said of the woman. He said that in the 911 call, he described the shooter walking towards her.
“He said, ‘He’s walking towards me now,'” Murray said.
Police advised the witness to enter a business to keep herself safe, and officers arrived at the scene shortly after the witness called police at 2.16pm local time.
The suspect shot himself before officers arrived, Murray said. Paramedics “tried to save his life,” but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 3.15pm, Murray said.
Murray emphasized that no officers fired their weapons during the incident.
Investigators still don’t have a motive for the fatal killings, Murray said, revealing that “the suspect had a large amount of ammunition and a weapon when he was located by officers.”
Early Tuesday morning, officers responded to a call reporting a man “shooting parties” at a Circle K convenience store, Murray told reporters at an earlier news conference.
“It appears to be a random situation,” Murray said, noting that “there was no apparent conflict between the parties” seen in the security footage. “The male just walked in and started shooting.”
Police later identified the suspect as Haddock, a Yakima County resident. Police released a surveillance video image of Haddock and said he was “considered armed and dangerous”.
Three people were found dead at Circle K when officers arrived, said Murray, who initially told reporters the gunman then crossed the street to an AMPM convenience store and shot a fourth person inside their car. The police chief said surveillance footage showed a fourth person shifting in the passenger seat of the vehicle as the gunman proceeded to steal the car and drive east toward Moxee on Highway 24. At the time, Murray noted that it was unclear whether the fourth person was shot and, if so, whether the shot was fatal.
Yakima Police later confirmed there was not a fourth victim in the shooting. It appears the car was the shooter’s vehicle and police have suggested he may have shot out the window because he locked the keys inside.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., Yakima Police issued a Twitter alert advising the public to stay away from an intersection due to an “incident (which) appears to be related to this morning’s murder.”
“This is a dangerous person. It’s random, so there’s a danger to the community,” Murray said earlier in the day.