On Monday, police revealed that a Safeway employee who’d served in the U.S. Army for two decades fought back against a gunman in the produce section of an Oregon supermarket, possibly saving lives. The attack left the employee and one other person dead.
The 66-year-old employee, Donald Ray Surrett Jr. of Bend, is being called a hero by police after his actions potentially saved multiple people in the store. The high-desert city where this occurred is ringed with mountains in central Oregon. Also killed Sunday evening was 84-year old Glenn Edward Bennett of Bend, as stated by spokesperson Sheila Miller.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter described Surrett as “a true hero.”
“His actions definitely saved lives,” the police chief said.
“If not for his actions, this could have been a lot worse.”
Porter said the gunman, who has not been identified, entered the Safeway store shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday and fired shots in the produce section. Surrett confronted the gunman and was shot dead, Porter said. The gunman then fatally shot Bennett and fled the store, Porter said.
The gunman was found dead a short time later in his car from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Porter said. He did not release any other details about the shooter.
Porter said investigators were still working to determine a motive for the shooting. He said there was no indication that the gunman knew either of the two men he killed.
“This is a tragedy for our community,” Porter said. “We’re all in shock.”
Surrett’s son, Donald Ray Surrett III, told The Associated Press that his father served in the Army for 20 years before retiring and moving to Bend about 15 years ago. He said his father then worked at Safeway for about 10 years.
“He was just a great guy,” Surrett III said. “Everybody loved him.”
Surrett III said his father was married and had two daughters and four grandchildren. He said his father enjoyed fishing and hunting.
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