DUNCAN, Okla. – Three people were killed Monday in a shooting outside a Walmart that ended when a bystander pointed a gun at the shooter, police and a witness said.
Police responding to a call shortly before 10 a.m. local time found a man and a woman dead in the front seat of a car in the parking lot and another man deceased outside the car, Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said.
“It appears several rounds were fired into the car, and a handgun was found on scene,” Ford said.
Authorities have not revealed a motive for the shooting. Ford said it appears a gunman shot the male and female victims and then turned the gun on himself. Ford said all three knew each other but declined to describe their relationships or identify them pending notification of immediate family. He did say one of the victims was a current or former employee of Walmart.
Duncan resident Aaron Helton, an Army veteran, said he was at the Walmart around 9:45 a.m. when he heard nine shots and saw the gunman, weapon in hand. According to Helton, another man walked up, put a pistol to the gunman’s head and told him to stop shooting. Helton said he saw the shooter was turning the gun on himself and looked away.
Ford acknowledged a person not connected with the shooting approached the gunman with his weapon drawn but could not confirm Helton's version of the events.
“I don’t know if it was a crime of passion,” Helton said.
Tera Mathis, spokeswoman for the Duncan Police Department, said names, ages and other personal details regarding the victims were not available. She declined to comment on reports that the shooting was an act of domestic violence.
At an afternoon news conference, Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks said there was never an active shooter inside the store, and he described the shooting as an isolated incident.
Schools in the city were briefly placed on lockdown. A large portion of the shopping center parking lot – surrounding a bullet-riddled vehicle – was cordoned off for most of the day.
Walmart spokesman Payton McCormick told USA TODAY that no staff members were involved in the shooting or injured, and the store was not evacuated.
State Rep. Forrest Bennett tweeted support for victims and their families.
"The closer it is, the more it hurts. Duncan once again suffers from gun violence," he said. "As we learn more about the motivation of the shooter, looking for ways to prevent this from happening again."
Duncan is a city of about 25,000 people in Stephens County, about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City.
The shooting took place days after the reopening of a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that had been the scene of a mass shooting Aug. 3. That attack left 22 people dead in the parking lot and inside the Cielo Vista Supercenter.
Duncan City Manager Kimberly Meek assured the public via Facebook that the threat was over.
"Law enforcement officers have secured the scene, and we do not believe there is an additional threat to the community,” Meek said. “Our prayers are with the victims, their families and with our law enforcement community as they investigate."
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Walmart shooting: 3 dead in shooting in Duncan, Oklahoma