walmart shooting red bluff CA
© Michael Daly
An SUV sits at the entrance of a Walmart distribution center in Red Bluff, Calif., on Saturday, June 27, 2020. A man drove the vehicle into the front of the building before police say he opened fire on workers
A worker was killed and four others were wounded Saturday after a gunman drove his SUV into a Northern California Walmart distribution center and used an assault rifle to fire upon workers during a shift change.

Two Red Bluff police officers opened fire on the suspect, who was carrying an "AR-type weapon" and had fired multiple shots at the officers, authorities said. The Tehama County Sheriff's Office announced several hours after the afternoon attack that the shooter died at a hospital.

During a news conference outside the warehouse, Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters a motive for the attack had not been determined. He identified the shooter only as a 31-year-old white male with a history at the distribution center, which lies on the outskirts of Red Bluff, about 120 miles north of Sacramento.

"We understand that he has a prior history with Walmart distribution center as an employee," Johnston said. "But that was not recent — it's been a while, it's been a year and a half."

The victim, who was a warehouse employee, was identified as Martin Haro-Lozano, 45, of Orland. Authorities do not know if he had a relationship with the gunman.

At least four workers who were injured were receiving care at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital. They were in fair condition, spokeswoman Allison Hendrickson told The Sacramento Bee. Witnesses told the Red Bluff Daily News one of the victims was a woman who was shot as she tried to flee the building.

Johnston told reporters that as many as six people were transported to the hospital, including a man who had been struck by the attacker's vehicle, a white Dodge Journey, and that several people had sought treatment for the "traumatic" event.

The warehouse, ringed with tractor-trailers and loading docks on the 10800 block of Highway 99 West, had about 200 workers inside at the time, witnesses said, some of whom were clocking in for the second shift.

The suspect began his attack at 3:31 p.m. after ramming his vehicle into lobby of the 1.1-million-square-foot facility. After the vehicle caught fire, the man began shooting at workers with a "semiautomatic rifle with a multiround clip," Johnston said.

From there, the gunman entered the building and began indiscriminately shooting at employees, Johnston said. Workers scattered from the lobby area into the facility, locked themselves in rooms, while others fled to the back of the warehouse as well as the parking lot.

Red Bluff police — two officers and one sergeant — were the first to make it to the shipping hub's employee lot five minutes into the attack where they said they encountered the suspect firing rounds in battle between cars.

"The exchange of gunfire between the Red Bluff police officers and the shooter was multiple rounds," Johnston said. Authorities were still trying to determine how many bullets were fired. "What I saw, (was) an estimated 20 to 30 rounds exchanged," he added. Witnesses said more than 50 rounds were fired by the gunman inside the facility.

Scott Thammakhanty, saw people lying on the ground as he and colleagues ran from the gunfire. He told the Record Searchlight that the gunfire "went on and on — I don't even know how many times he fired. I just know it was a lot."

The officers who fired on the suspect will be placed on paid administrative leave, standard protocol in officer-involved shootings, Red Bluff police said. The Tehama County District Attorney will review the officers' role in the shooting while the Sheriff's Office will lead the incident's investigation.

In addition to Tehama deputies and Red Bluff officers, a state Department of Justice forensic team and an investigation team from the California Highway Patrol continued to process the scene into the night.

A Walmart spokesman told national media outlets that the company was deeply saddened by the incident.

"Our focus is on supporting our associates, as well as their families and co-workers in the facility," he told the New York Times. "This is an active police investigation and we will continue to work with Tehama County Sheriff's Office and assist in their investigation in any way possible."

Investigators said late Saturday that the attack was not related to a shooting 30 miles to the northeast in Shingletown, where three people were killed hours earlier.
Malaika Kanaaneh Tapper is a summer reporting intern for The Sacramento Bee and a student at Harvard University.