As the Bend community grapples with the reality of Sunday’s deadly shooting at the eastside Safeway, people who live nearby are still in shock after not only seeing the shooter, but also escaping his gunfire.
People have been laying flowers for the victims at the entrance of the Safeway parking lot since Monday morning. It’s serving as a memorial for the victims, but also a solemn reality that even Bend is not immune to gun violence in America.
“It’s just a tragedy that people who are upset with something, have to take it out on other people before they turn it on themselves,” said Bend resident Janet Love.
People who heard the gunshots were told to take cover.
“I heard this pop pop pop pop, a pause, then another pop pop pop pop pop, then a pause,” said Love. “Sounded like it was an assault rifle. There were about 30 to 35 maybe more shots. So I listened for awhile and I was curious and I started to walk on over and a neighbor said ‘Don’t do that. There’s an active shooter,'” she added.
A group of teenagers claim they saw the shooter with the gun, firing shots as he began his rampage.
“We pulled up there and we saw a guy holding a big old gun and he started shooting off more rounds,” said Gabriel Arambull, of Bend.
For a time, police saw the teens as a group of potential suspects and pursued them into their apartments.
“My teenage neighbors upstairs saw the shooter and sped in reverse back to their apartment and ran inside and that instigated suspicion and the police entered the Cedar West Apartment Complex,” said Shari, a Bend resident.
“They were pointing guns at my face. It was just crazy. I mean, I was just happy that nobody got hurt,” said Arambull.
Safeway Corporate was stationed across the street answering any questions Safeway employees had. They also provided this statement late Monday:
“We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at our Safeway store on Highway 20 in Bend, Oregon, including the loss of a customer and a valued member of our team. Our thoughts and actions now are directed toward supporting our associates, customers, and the community affected by this tragedy. We thank the officers at the Bend Police Department for their response and will continue to support the department’s investigation over the coming days.”