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Suspected Shoplifters Open Fire Inside San Leandro Walmart: Witnesses

Shoppers at a San Leandro Walmart huddled in the back of the store just about midnight as one of two suspected shoplifters opened fire inside the store just as it was closing.

Lt. Rick DeCosta said the two men were arrested on charges of attempted homicide and robbery.

Undercover security guards saw the men trying to steal something about closing time, DeCosta said, and confronted the pair as they hid the merchandise under their clothing. At that point, one of the suspects fired off his gun at the security officer, DeCosta said.

After police initially said they were looking for a third suspect, a police lieutenant said Monday morning that investigators have determined there is no third suspect in the case.

"Fortunately, no one was struck by any of the bullets fired," he said. "Miraculously, no one inside the store was hit. We're very thankful for that."

Witnesses also described what went on inside the store at 1919 Davis Street at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday.

Edgar Vega told NBC Bay Area that one of the suspects fired off about six to eight rounds before a loss prevention officer was able to grab the suspects arm and distract him from continuing to shoot.

"I was in the back just shopping, and suddenly we just heard the gunshots," Vega said, "and we just heard people screaming and we just started heading towards the back and we ended up in the back room."

Lots of customers made their way back, too.

"As there was more gunshots going off, more people started heading towards the back and eventually we were safe in the back room of the Walmart," Vega said.

Vegas said he and the other shoppers found the violent scene surreal.

"At first we just thought it was someone popping big bags or something," he said. "We never would’ve thought it was gunshots until we heard people start screaming, and then we heard more gunshots and that’s when we realized it was real, it wasn’t a joke."

Neither the loss prevention officer nor the customers were injured.

The two suspects were arrested on scene. One of them was transported to a local hospital with a minor neck injury after the struggle over the gun with the loss prevention officer. The second suspect was uninjured and was taken into custody.

DeCosta said this became literally a "life and death struggle. Fortunately, no one was injured and the security officer was able to wrestle the subject to the ground."
 

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