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Omaha police fatally shoot armed man in Target store

Omaha police say they have fatally shot a man who entered a Target store with an AR-15-style rifle and “plenty of ammunition.”

A man with an AR-15-style rifle opened fire inside a Target store in Omaha, sending panicked shoppers and employees scrambling for safety before he was fatally shot by police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said the man had “plenty of ammunition” and that evidence suggests he fired multiple rounds, but it wasn’t immediately known if he fired at anyone.

Schmaderer said no wounded people were found, and police had searched through the store “because there were some people hiding in there.”

Cathy Mahannah, a customer, said the scene inside the store was “sheer panic.”

The 62-year-old grandmother was near the store’s entrance picking out Valentine’s Day gifts for her family when she heard a banging sound. She thought something had fallen, then saw a mass of people running for the exit.

A shopper told her there was an active shooter, and she fled. She heard at least one more shot in the store and a few more when she was outside.

Mahannah was so rattled she initially couldn’t find her car and jumped into a vehicle with a stranger.

“The moments in that parking lot were terrifying when I heard the shots and thought, ‘Where do I hide? I don’t know what to do.’” she said.

The police chief said there were several 911 calls shortly before noon and officers were at the store within minutes.

“The first arriving officers went into the building, confronted the suspect and shot him dead,” Schmaderer said, speaking at news conference about an hour after the shooting. “He had an AR-15 rifle with him and plenty of ammunition.”

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives happened to be nearby and helped get victims to safety, bureau spokesperson John Ham said.

The ATF is tracing the weapon to determine where it came from, whether it was acquired legally and whether it has been used in other crimes, Ham said.

Target spokesperson Brian Harper-Tibaldo said in a statement that all guests and team members were safely evacuated from the store.

Among those employees were two 21-year-olds, Lauren Murphy and Samuel Jacobsen.

Murphy was in the restroom when she heard the shots. She texted family and friends, telling them she loved them, and climbed onto a toilet so her feet wouldn't be visible if the shooter came in.

Relief washed over her when police entered the restroom. A child next to her was crying.

“I was scared that this is how I might die at work," Murphy said. “It was just terrifying.”

Jacobsen was filling a personal shopping order. He’d never heard a gunshot before and was uncertain at first what the sound was.

“Then my coworker ran by and she said, ‘He’s got a gun, get out!’” Jacobsen said. “I was like, ‘Oh this is real. I have to get out, I have to get out, I have to get out.’”

Lt. Neal Bonacci, a police spokesperson, said officers are trained to enter such scenes quickly to prevent mass casualties.

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