GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- A standoff situation near the IKEA store in Grand Prairie has ended with one person dead after a shootout with police officers.
A concerned citizen called police at about 1:30 p.m. Monday to report seeing someone slumped over in a vehicle in the IKEA parking lot, along State Highway 161 near Mayfield, Chief Steve Dye with GPPD said.
Officers arrived on the scene and tried to make contact with the person inside the vehicle.
"I was in the parking lot across the street from it," said Joel Sanders. "They were around the car, and you could hear them talking on the loudspeaker."
Police say they soon became suspicious that he had a weapon because his hands were covered. The suspect produced a rifle, Dye said, and shot at the officers.
"I heard between 30, 40, 50 shots," said Sanders. "I saw the car getting hit, the glass busing and flying. It was pretty intense for a while."
They locked down the IKEA, where Tony London and dozens of others heard the gunfire from inside.
"We ran through IKEA's kitchen and down into a safe place they have, in a cellar," he said. "There were a lot of people down there. Some people are crying, some people are panicking."
London shared his videos of people inside a long hallway inside the store. In a statement to WFAA, IKEA Grand Prairie's General Manager Matt Hunsicker praised his employees for staying calm during the emergency response.
"They looked after everybody," said London. "They brought water down, other refreshments and kept us well updated."
In a video from a witness in the parking lot, a rapid stream of shots could be heard and multiple police cars were nearby.
They tried to make contact for negotiations, but Chief Dye said the suspect never spoke back to them. Instead, he pulled out his rifle and shot at the offers two more times, witnesses said. The officers fired back.
The SWAT team was eventually able to reach the vehicle, where they found the suspect dead, Dye said.
The investigation is ongoing, so it's not clear yet whether the suspect died from the officers' shots or from his own gun. Police said Wednesday that video proved the suspect pointed his rifle toward the officers at least three times, but there isn't evidence yet that he fired a shot.
"Investigators have confirmed the decedent’s assault weapon was loaded and the safety selector was in the firing position," police said in a release. "Additionally, investigators have established initial officers attempted to verbally deescalate the incident, but the decedent raised his rifle towards officers despite commands. Finally, the investigation has established one officer deployed a Conducted Energy Weapon, which was ineffective due to striking the decedent’s rifle. A gunshot residue examination on the decedent’s hands is ongoing."
Dye said the incident wasn't related to IKEA, and no one else was injured. Shoppers inside the store were never in danger and were guided through a back door, Dye said.