SEATTLE (AP) – Police have singled out the suspect in the random killing of three people at a convenience store in Yakima, Wash., after he borrowed a stranger’s cell phone to call his mother and confess to what he had done, they said the authorities on Tuesday.
The suspect shot and killed himself behind some warehouses as officers approached, Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said. No officers used force and no one was injured, he added.
Police had surrounded Jarid Haddock’s family home after the killings before dawn Tuesday, but he was not there, Murray said at a news conference. Instead, the 21-year-old went to a nearby Target store in the city, where he borrowed a woman’s phone and called his mother.
The woman overheard the conversation, which included incriminating statements such as “I killed those people,” as well as the man’s threats to kill himself, according to Murray. The woman then managed to get her phone back, she separated from Haddock and called 911 to report her whereabouts, Murray said.
“I heard that call — it’s pretty heartbreaking,” Murray said. “I really have to thank her again because she was very brave in taking us there.”
Murray said detectives still had no idea what sparked the shootings. Haddock entered the Circle K convenience store just before 3:30 on Tuesday and shot and killed two people who were there to get food, then walked out and shot someone else in the car.
“There was no apparent conflict between the parties,” Murray said, citing witness statements and surveillance footage. “The male just walked in and started shooting.”
He then walked across the street to another gas station and started shooting at his car to get in, because he had locked himself out, Murray said.
Police did not immediately release any information about the victims.
The attack is yet another eruption of violence in the first weeks of 2023 as the United States experiences a wave of mass killings that has claimed dozens of lives.
After the killings, police released a surveillance image of the man and warned the community to be alert. Law enforcement officers approached his parents’ home across the street from a warehouse on the outskirts of the city of nearly 100,000, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. Court records listed the house as a previously known address for Haddock.
Haddock appeared to have little criminal record. He was arrested in March 2020 after police saw him in a car that had been stolen from a woman who had left it running; He escaped from officers who stopped him, according to prosecution documents filed in the Yakima County Superior Court, and reportedly homeless.
He successfully completed a diversion program, despite violating its terms twice using methamphetamine or heroin, and the charges were dismissed in December 2021.
At the Yakima Riverside Storage, across the street from the house surrounded by police, receptionist Tabitha Johnson said she was taking the unusual precaution of locking the doors, which she can monitor through windows and cameras safety.
“It’s scary enough, but Yakima is no stranger to shootings,” the 39-year-old said.