Cleveland police have confirmed that one person was shot in the Target parking lot near Frontage Road in a suspected domestic incident. The shooting occurred around 8:40 p.m. on Monday while multiple Lee students and other patrons were shopping inside the store.
The shooting is believed to have been accidental and self-inflicted, as reported earlier by News Channel 9. Witnesses described the victim as an elderly man in a white pickup truck. A woman, who reportedly sustained minor injuries after falling out of the truck, was also treated on the scene.
“I was walking out the double doors — I had gotten through the first one — and I heard a gunshot. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, so I paused,” said one bystander, who asked that her name be withheld. “When I ran back through, I told one of the associates to call 911. They took us in a storage room, but all I wanted was to get out the back door.”
“[My husband] is actually a fireman,” she continued. “He was one of the very first on the scene. It was scary. I’ve never witnessed anything like it. This is something that he’s used to, but not me. They’re trying to figure out where the first shot went, but the second shot — [the victim] shot himself.”
Lily Scott, a senior digital media major, was one of several Lee students inside the store when chaos unfolded outside. Scott and her friends were standing near the fitting rooms when a girl came running through the store, saying someone got shot.
“We looked around and tried to figure out what was happening. People kept running to the back of the store, trying to see the front door and hiding in between things,” said Scott. “We instantly thought that someone was coming inside. I was terrified.”
“The cops were there like a minute after,” she continued. “The Target employees came back and explained that a man had accidentally shot himself. We didn’t really know what was happening — they weren’t really letting people out of the store.”
According to bystander David Hull, police and medical personnel rushed to the scene with full lights and sirens. “Police had each entrance blocked,” he said. A single patient was then airlifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga around 9:15 p.m. Hull watched the Life Force helicopter take off from a clearing that police had sectioned off in the parking lot.
The patient’s condition is unknown at this time, and police continue to investigate. If students affected by this event need to speak with a counselor, the Lee University Counseling Center is open today. They can be reached at 614-8415.