Heroic employee tried to disarm gunman in Oregon store shooting, police say

Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 11:43 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 3:24 PM CDT
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BEND, Ore. (KPTV/Gray News) - Police in Oregon identified the shooter at a supermarket who killed two people.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Bend Police Department said 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller killed himself at the scene as officers arrived after killing two people in the store and firing several rounds from an “AR-15 style” rifle.

The victims were Glen Edward Bennett, 84, a man who was shot and killed at the front of the store and Donald Ray Surrett, 66, a man who was a Safeway employee shot and killed at the back of the store.

Surett reportedly attempted to disarm the shooter before he was shot, a heroic action which likely prevented more deaths, officials said.

Police said the entire parking lot around the shopping center would be closed Monday and Tuesday, KPTV reports.

The shooter is believed to have entered the shopping center parking lot from the back side near Costco and fired shots into Big Lots. Then the shooter entered the west entrance of Safeway.

“I immediately turned to my children and said, ‘Run!’ People were screaming,” a shopper said, per the Associated Press. “It was a horrifying experience.”

Police said they heard gunshots when they entered the Safeway but found the suspected shooter already dead. They said they found an assault-style rifle and a shotgun near his body.

Medics transported the initial person shot to a nearby hospital, where the victim was declared dead. Police said there was one other person with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said officers did not fired any shots at the scene.

This is an active investigation, and police are obtaining search warrants for the suspected shooter’s residence. Police are asking anyone with information about the event to contact them.

Oregon’s elected leaders reacted to the shooting Monday with pledges to fight for more gun control.

“America cannot just shrug its shoulders at another mass shooting with loved ones grieving the loss of family and friends,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, tweeted.

“I’m willing to work with anybody who’s sick and tired of mass shootings to find solutions that put an end to this gun violence madness once and for all.”

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement that the shooting was one of several in Oregon over weekend and that “Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.”

Oregon residents will vote in November on one of the strictest gun-control measures in the nation. If passed, Initiative 17 would ban large capacity magazines over 10 rounds — except for current owners, law enforcement and the military — and require a permit to purchase any gun.

To qualify for a permit, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a criminal background check. The state police would create a firearms database.

Bend is a city of about 97,000 approximately 160 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon.