A Safeway employee and 20-year United States Army veteran, Donald Ray Surrett Jr., very likely saved lives when he attacked a gunman who was actively shooting at the store on Sunday evening, sacrificing his own life in the process.
The shooter entered the store in Bend, Oregon on Sunday actively firing an assault weapon, and killed two people before taking his own life. Police described 66-year old Surrett as a hero during a press conference on Monday, saying if he had not acted to subdue the gunman, the loss of life would likely have been much greater.
Surrett, who served two decades as a combat engineer in the United States Army, according to his ex-wife, attempted to stop the gunman and disarm him. During the altercation with the shooter, Surrett was shot and killed. Police say the gunman then turned the gun on himself. A customer, 84-year old Edward Bennett, was also killed by the shooter as he entered the store.
“Mr. Surrett engaged with the shooter, attempted to disarm him and may very well have prevented further deaths. Mr. Surrett acted heroically during this terrible event,” said Bend Police spokesperson Sheila Miller.
The shooter was identified by Bend Police as 20-year old Ethan Blair Miller, who reportedly lived in an apartment complex behind the Safeway grocery store. Authorities say they found a shotgun with the barrel sawed off along with several molotov cocktails in the shooter’s car. They are currently investigating his social media accounts to see if he posted any information related to the shooting.
“We are aware that the shooter may have posted information online regarding his plan. We’re investigating this,” said Miller. “We have no evidence of previous threats or prior knowledge of the shooter. We received information about the shooter’s writings after the incident had taken place. And the shooter has no criminal history in the area.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: STAR TRIBUNE
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