Gunman Fires Shots Inside Cheltenham Walmart, Fights Officers, Police Say

What to Know

  • A gunman opened fire inside the Cedarbrook Plaza Walmart store Tuesday evening then led officers on a chase, police said.

  • The gunman also allegedly fought responding Philly officers after fleeing the scene with a woman and crashing into a police car.

  • All of the victims of the shooting and fight are expected to survive. Two suspects were taken into custody.

An altercation inside a crowded Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, Walmart escalated into a shooting, crash and fight with responding officers that left several people injured, investigators said.

The frightening ordeal began shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday inside the Walmart at Cedarbrook Plaza Shopping Center at 1000 South Easton Road in Wyncote, when an altercation occurred near a cash register.

“Words were exchanged” and the suspect pulled a gun from his female companion’s waistband and fired “at least 10 shots,” Cheltenham Township Chief of Police John Frye said said.

Law enforcement sources told NBC10 the suspected gunman and woman are brother and sister.

There were initially conflicting reports about the total number of people hurt. Two women in their 40s and a man in his 40s were wounded in the legs and another person had a graze wound to the leg. A fifth person later went to a hospital with unspecified injuries. In addition, a pregnant woman was taken to the hospital after a fall, police said.

All the victims were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the person the man was arguing with was among the victims, Frye said.

Two of the victims are Walmart employees, the company said.

Customers and employees inside the store ducked for cover as bullets flew near the checkout line.

“They had to run in the back and barricade themselves in the back,” Oscar Brown, the father of a woman inside the store during the shooting, told NBC10. “She called me back crying saying she’s scared. I said, ‘Don’t worry. God’s got your back.'”

The brother and sister then fled the Walmart in a Pontiac Grand Prix, police said.

“He kept straight coming down,” a witness, who said she was nearly struck by the vehicle, said. “He didn’t stop.”

After tossing the gun out of the car, the suspects crashed into the back of an empty police vehicle at Forrest Avenue and East Sedgwick Street in neighboring Philadelphia, according to investigators.

“The officers just got done taking a theft report and saw the vehicle crash into a police vehicle, thinking it was just an auto accident,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

Both suspects tried to flee the scene after the crash but were taken into custody by responding officers, police said. A witness told NBC10 the male suspect resisted arrest and it took several officers to apprehend him and place him inside a police vehicle.

While inside the vehicle, the man allegedly tried to kick out the window. He also managed to bring his cuffed hands in front of him and attack officers, according to police. Police then used a stun gun to subdue him.

Police say the man appeared to be either high on narcotics, intoxicated, or both. Both he and his sister were taken to the hospital. 

Two officers also suffered minor injuries during the fight with the suspect, police said. 

Frye called the shooting a “very dangerous situation,” given that it was a “very crowded Walmart, a lot of shots were low, the floor is hard … there’s a risk of ricochet.” Reports from the hospital, he said, indicate that the suspected shooter was “definitely on some type of drugs.”

The suspect’s weapon was recovered on the 8300 block of Cheltenham Avenue, according to investigators.

A total of 22 police departments from Montgomery County and Philadelphia responded to the Walmart. A SWAT team went inside to clear the building. Investigator remained inside the store overnight. By wednesday morning, workers were back in the store but it remained closed past its normal 6 a.m. opening time.

Walmart was “hopeful” to reopen the store Wednesday and glad no one was killed.

“We are relieved that an arrest has been made and thankful that injuries sustained by two of our associates and a customer are non-life threatening,” national Walmart spokesperson Casey Stahli said. “Local authorities acted quickly and did an outstanding job. Our focus remains on supporting our associates and continuing to assist law enforcement.”

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