An off-duty LAPD officer fatally shot a man and wounded two others Friday night at a Costco store in Corona after the officer was assaulted while holding his young child, authorities said.
The attack on the officer, which was called unprovoked, resulted in him firing his weapon, striking the suspected assailant and two of his family members, said Officer Tobias Kouroubacalis, a spokesman for the Corona Police Department. The deceased man was identified as Kenneth French, 32, of Riverside, authorities said.
His two relatives were transported to hospitals, where they were listed in critical condition, Kouroubacalis said.
The officer’s gun was the only weapon involved in the incident, he said.
The officer, who has not been identified, suffered minor injuries in the confrontation and was taken to a hospital and then discharged, said Officer Greg Kraft of the Los Angeles Police Department. The officer is assigned to the LAPD’s Southwest Division.
The LAPD later issued a statement saying it had “initiated an administrative investigation and is working with the Corona Police Department to learn more about the incident.”
Corona police responded to a report of gunshots about 7:45 p.m. and entered the Costco in the 400 block of North McKinley Street to find several people injured, authorities said. The two adults with gunshot wounds were taken to hospitals.
Corona police Lt. Jeff Edwards said Friday night that two men were in an argument when one pulled out a weapon and fatally shot the other man. Initially, police said they had detained the shooter inside the store and then taken him to a hospital after he said he was injured.
But police later said that no one was in custody and that there had not been an arrest in the case.
On Saturday evening, police revealed more details about the circumstances leading up to the shooting. Kouroubacalis, the Corona officer, said that the off-duty LAPD officer was shopping at Costco with his family when he was attacked without provocation. He said the officer was holding his child at the time but that the child was not injured during the incident.
Kouroubacalis said the investigation was ongoing and that no other details were available.
The shooting occurred in the crowded retail store filled with families, prompting panic among shoppers, many of whom left personal belongings behind as they fled for the exits. Television footage showed several ambulances and law enforcement officers on the scene.
A few shoppers hid with employees in a refrigerated food locker as the chaos erupted, witnesses said.
Will Lungo, 45, of Corona said he and his wife were near the produce and alcohol sections when he heard gunshots.
“I thought maybe someone dropped a bottle of wine, but then I kept hearing shots,” Lungo told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “An employee came in and helped us out through the emergency exit.”
As is standard procedure, the Corona Police Department is working closely with the Riverside County district attorney’s office in the investigation of the shooting.
Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting is asked to contact Corona Police Lt. Robert Newman at (951) 817-5788.
Meanwhile, police collected the belongings of shoppers who fled the scene, and those items can be retrieved by contacting Costco at (951) 279-1190.
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.