PHOENIX — A shooting inside an Arizona Walmart on Saturday left two police officers injured and a male suspect dead, authorities say.
Details are scarce but police in Chandler said the shooting occurred around 6:20 a.m. Saturday at the Walmart at 1175 S. Arizona Ave. Chandler police Detective Seth Tyler called the shooting an "ambush."
"When the first officer walked into the store, the suspect began firing at the officer immediately," Tyler said, adding that police did not say how many shots were fired but did confirm the first officer was struck in the head. "You can call it what you want. It sounds like an ambush to me."
Tyler said it's unclear if the first officer was able to return fire, but he said the second officer who responded did shoot and kill the suspect. Chandler officials said both officers are in stable condition.
Throughout Saturday morning, police tape surrounded most of the Walmart shopping center. A handful of people milled around the outskirts of the parking lot. Some were confused Walmart employees who were arriving for their shifts, only to be turned away at the door. A few others were shoppers who had been inside the store when the shooting occurred.
Cynthia Ayala said she was inside the Walmart when she heard numerous gunshots on the opposite end of the store — more than she could count, she said.
"I didn't think it was real, honestly," Ayala said. "I thought that they were pallets falling or something like that."
She said she hid on the other end of the store until the commotion stopped. Two hours later, police let her and some others out into the parking lot, where her car was still held behind police tape.
"Now I'm just waiting for my car," she said. "It was unreal to me. I didn't think they would be gunshots."
The first responding officer is in surgery at Chandler Regional Medical Center, Tyler said. He said he did know how many years of service the injured officers had but said both were "fairly new" to the police force.
"We pull together," Tyler said. "We know we have a job to do and the most important thing is ensuring those officers are OK."