Gunmen Kill One, Injure 14
PALM BAY, Fla.--Two men armed with rifles opened fire at two downtown shopping centers yesterday, and officials said one police officer was killed and at least 14 people wounded.
The gunmen, authorities said, then took an unknown number of hostages in a supermarket. One gunman was taken into custody, said a police spokeswoman.
Up to 100 police officers converged on the scene and police snipers were stationed on rooftops, according to witnesses. Hundreds of shoppers were evacuated from the area and many others were lying on the ground, but in the confusion and panic it was not immediately clear how many had been shot.
"Thirty is the number of bodies we have on the ground," Palm Bay Police spokeswoman Louise Brown said. She said one police officer had been killed, and another injured, but did not know the condition of the others.
Brown had originally reported that police believed 12 people were killed, but said later that could not be confirmed and it they did not know how many of the people on the ground were killed or wounded.
The Holmes Regional Medical Center received 14 people with gunshot wounds, according to spokeswoman Mary Lu Tombleson. She could not provide details.
Brown did not know the circumstances of the one gunman's arrest.
Witnesses described both gunmen as having red hair, one in his late 20s and the other in his 50s, and both were believed to have been carrying military rifles, Brown said.
She said the men opened fire at 6:25 p.m. in front of a Publix grocery store in this Atlantic coastal town about 70 miles southeast of Orlando.
From the store, they went to a nearby Winn Dixie store and continued firing before entering and taking hostages, Ms. Brown said. It was not immediately known how many people were in the grocery store.