The suspected gunman accused of killing one person and critically injuring another at a Fred Meyer grocery store had been “distancing himself from friends and family” in the weeks leading up to Monday’s shooting, according to police.
Richland Police Interim Chief Brigit Clary said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that Aaron Christopher Kelly was “in decline over the last few weeks and months” before he allegedly carried out Monday’s attack in Richland, Washington.
The police chief’s comments came after court documents, released by Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, reveal that a man who says he was Mr Kelly’s landlord told investigators he had been “mentally spiralling”, was “very paranoid” and that he had previously seen him with a 9mm handgun.
Mr Kelly is now said to be refusing to cooperate with investigators after he was arrested on Monday night along Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane, following an hours-long manhunt.
Chief Clary said that the 39-year-old was “alone” when he was taken into custody and that they are not seeking anyone else in connection to the shooting.
Police said that Mr Kelly entered the grocery store at 11:01am and was seen on surveillance footage pushing a cart with a duffle bag inside.
Just two minutes later, the suspect allegedly had a “10 to 15 second interaction” with his first victim Justin Krumbah before pulling out a firearm and shooting him dead.
Mr Krumbah, a 38-year-old Instacart shopper who has been described by customers as a “breath of fresh air”, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect then allegedly shot his second victim – a 56-year-old Fred Meyer employee who has not been identified – before going on the run.
The second victim was given emergency medical treatment at the scene before being rushed to hospital.
The police chief said that he remains in a critical condition and that his family do not want him to be identified at this point.
When questioned about how the gunman got away after police arrived on the scene within minutes, she insisted that officers “did not encounter the suspect on his way out” of the store.
Chief Clary told reporters that investigators do not believe the gunman knew either of his victims prior to carrying out the attack.
She provided no further details about the conversation between Mr Krumbah and Mr Kelly moments before the shooting, aside from that the interaction lasted only seconds.
Richland Police Commander Chris Lee told reporters on Monday that surveillance footage showed the gunman and Mr Krumbah having some sort of “heated” interaction before the shooting unfolded.
Mr Kelly did not have an extensive criminal history but was known to law enforcement, said the police chief.
His last contact with local law enforcement was in June 2021.