A man who allegedly killed a UPS driver in the Walmart parking lot fired “a long gun” at officers before barricading himself in a residence on Dryden Road, where he has been since at least 4:30 a.m. Thursday, police said.
The suspect shot the 52-year-old delivery driver in Walmart’s parking lot off of Route 13 and then ran the man over with his vehicle, Ithaca Police Chief John Barber said Thursday morning.
After responding to reports of a shooting at Walmart at 12:52 a.m., officers noticed a vehicle matching the suspect’s driving north on Route 13 and attempted to make a felony traffic stop near the intersection of Route 13 and Route 336, according to Barber.
Ithaca Police Chief John Barber speaks to reporters at the Tompkins County Crash Fire Rescue Building on Thursday morning.The suspect fled for a quarter mile, Barber said, before turning into a driveway, exiting the vehicle with a “long gun” and firing one round in the direction of officers, who did not return fire and were uninjured.
The unidentified, armed suspect entered a building “believed to be his residence” on the 1200 block of Dryden Road and has been in a standoff with police for about five hours, Officer Jamie Williamson said. Barber added that negotiators have not been able to contact the suspect.
“Right now we have that residence contained by tactical teams,” Barber said to reporters in the Tompkins County Crash Fire Rescue Building on Brown Road.
Local police, including Cornell officers, are at the barricaded residence and officials warned people to avoid the area, which has been evacuated. Some of the evacuees have been placed in hotels in the Ithaca-area, Williamson said. County officials said that TCAT buses and the Dryden and Ithaca school districts have been notified of the active scene.
The victim lived in the region but was not a resident of Tompkins County, Williamson said.
The UPS driver bought a pack of cigarettes before he was fatally shot by a man in a black truck who then ran over the victim and peeled out, witnesses said.
“A guy was sitting in his truck, and all I heard was a gunshot and looked up, saw the guy fall, and then the guy in the truck backed up, pulled out, ran him over and took off,” John Thorna, of Newfield, told The Sun.
Bangs medics performed CPR on the victim around 1 a.m., before Ithaca Police officers covered him in a white sheet and began taking pictures of the crime scene.
Thorna, who police identified as a witness, said he was standing by his sedan’s trunk, scratching the seal off of a phone card in the Walmart parking lot when he heard a single gunshot. Moments before, Thorna said, the victim had been behind him in the checkout line.
The victim was white and wearing a UPS uniform when he was killed, Thorna said. He added that he didn’t hear an argument and only looked up when he heard the gunshot, seeing the man fall to the ground, about 200 feet from Walmart.
Linda Kemp, 68, told The Sun she was behind Thorna and the man in the UPS uniform — the only three people in the Walmart line at the time. The man in the uniform bought a pack of Marlboros and said he worked 13-hour days, Kemp said, adding that the UPS truck was still parked in the lot after the shooting.
The victim was “walking out of the store and the other guy seemed like he was in the truck waiting for him,” Thorna said.
A Walmart employee said the store has surveillance cameras that cover the area of the alleged shooting and that managers were in the process of reviewing the tapes.
“I’ve worked here 11 years and I’ve never seen anything like that,” the employee said of the crime scene.
Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing, who is leading the operation on Dryden Road, said portions of Route 366 would be shut down until the negotiations came to a close.
“Right now, the situation in the area is contained,” he said. “We have shut down the area completely to any civilian traffic and it will be so until we finish this operation.”
Police said they will update reporters at 11 a.m.