LENEXA, Kan — Police have released surveillance video of the moment a man with a gun went into the Costco at 95th Street and Interstate 35, threatening people throughout the store.
Callers to 911 document the terror as it is happening.
"He has a gun. He is yelling at people. People are running out of Costco,” said one 911 caller. "You might have an active shooter here."
The emergency dispatcher asked the caller, "What part of the parking lot is he in?"
To which the caller replied, "He is not in the parking lot. He is now in the store when I, I -- He is now in the store. People are running out of the store."
Police said the surveillance video from the Costco in Lenexa shows 58-year-old Ronald Hunt walking into the store threatening people with a gun in his right hand.
"Yes, and he has already pointed it at one gentleman, and the gentleman ran away," a 911 caller said. "That's when I passed him. Now he went in the store.0 People are running out of the store."
Although none of the people who called 911 saw or heard Hunt shoot his gun, they described him wearing a camo-type outfit, screaming something about being a U.S. Marshal and making threats.
While shoppers were running out of the store, off-duty KCK Police Officer Michael Howell ran in toward the danger.
“He kind of had a tactical advantage on the suspect,” Lenexa Police Chief Thomas Hongslo said. “He did not know he was there, so he is always trying to get himself in a position where he stays behind him to get himself in a position where he can stop the threat.”
After Hunt and Howell walk out of surveillance camera range, that's when Hunt was shot and the threat eliminated.
“When he went down the aisle is when the KCK officer gave him commands, identified himself and then the suspect pointed the gun at the officer and he, in fear of his own life, shot him,” Hongslo said.
One 911 caller reported hearing six gunshots as Lenexa police arrived on scene. Those shots were from Howell’s gun.
Hongslo believes because of his heroism and training, Howell saved many innocent lives.
“We don’t know what his intent was, but by his actions at the beginning and his actions throughout the store, I think he was there to kill people,” Honglso said.
Police also gave kuddos to the managers and employees at Costco who let shoppers know about the threat right away and did a great job getting a lot of people out of the store safely.
Howell has been cleared in the shooting death of Hunt. The officer will not face any charges.