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Walmart shooter dies, victim improves

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By April Wright, Reporter

UPDATED 5/6/10

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Rita Carico, 57, of Galax, was in good condition Monday at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, after being shot in the face and chest while working in the dairy section at Walmart on Saturday night, according to a spokesperson at the hospital.

A.G. Anderson, who police say shot the Walmart employee and then turned the gun on himself, died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

Clark said the department received the 911 call at 9:54 on Saturday evening, saying there was an active shooter at Walmart.

Witnesses said Anderson, 64, of Galax, approached the victim in the dairy section, where she worked, and fired at least one shot. When the victim started to run into the storage area of the store, he continued to fire. Clark said he fired the gun five times. 

“If she did not run to where no customers were surrounding her, other innocent people could have been struck,” said Clark.

An employee carried Carico into an office area, where staff administered first aid.

Anderson was located by police in the storage area of Walmart, also suffering from a gunshot wound.

After ensuring that there was no second active shooter, Clark said police locked down Walmart for 45 minutes to identify witnesses.

Clark estimated that, at the time of the lockdown, there were between 300 and 400 shoppers inside.

The Food Center entrance to the store was closed off and was surrounded by caution tape and police cars. The suspect's Blazer in the parking lot of Walmart was roped off in order for the department to secure a search warrant for the vehicle.

Clark said the department obtained no evidence from the vehicle.

Both Carico and Anderson were initially taken by Galax-Grayson EMS and Galax Fire Department paramedics to Twin County Regional Hospital.

Anderson was then transported by ambulance to North Carolina Baptist Hospital, where he died. Carico was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Police interviewed nearly 40 shoppers on Saturday — some were witnesses to the shooting and others said they heard gun shots. Witnesses were interviewed throughout the night.

Galax police, who were slated to interview Carico on Tuesday about the events, have not done so “because she hasn't felt up to it,” said Clark. “It will be up to her when we get to interview her.”

He will not release information about the relationship between Carico and the shooter — or any other details — until Carico is interviewed by investigators.

Witnesses told police that Anderson was first seen on the parking lot at 11 a.m., but Clark said there is no way to determine if he had been on the grounds since that time.

Clark said in a press release that the investigation is ongoing.

Walmart, Clark said, brought in a group of counselors to help staff cope with Saturday's events.

Walmart was shut down after midnight, but resumed its operation on Sunday.

In addition to the Galax Police Department, members of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police arrived to establish the perimeter.

UPDATED 5/2/10, 7:30 P.M.

A.G. Anderson, the man Galax police say shot Walmart employee Rita Carico at the store on Saturday night, has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

Witnesses said Anderson, 64, of Galax, approached the victim in the dairy section, where she worked, and fired at least one shot. When the victim started to run, he continued to fire.

Carico, 57, who was airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, was shot in the chest and face. She is in good condition.

Anderson was located in the storage area of Walmart, and was suffering from a gunshot wound. Anderson was transported to North Carolina Baptist Hospital where he died as a result of his wound.

The store was locked down by Galax Police until witnesses were identified.

Clark said Walmart is bringing in a trauma unit to help staff cope with Saturday's events.

The chief said he would make no comment about a possible motive.

5/1/10

A gunshot victim and the alleged gunman are both in serious condition after the suspect allegedly shot a female Walmart employee in the chest and face in the dairy section of the store and then turned the gun on himself, according to Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

The names of the victim and the suspect have not yet been released.

Clark said the department received the 911 call at 9:54 on Saturday evening, saying there was an active shooter at Walmart.

When police arrived, they found the female victim in the dairy section of the store, suffering from gunshot wounds. The suspect was located in the storage area in the back of Walmart with a gunshot wound to the head.

Once police ensured that there was no second active shooter, Walmart was locked down for a short period of time to identify witnesses.

The Food Center entrance to the store was closed off and was surrounded by caution tape and police cars.

Clark estimated that, at the time of the lockdown, there were between 300 and 400 shoppers inside. Officers talked to dozens of witnesses and, shortly after midnight, they were still being interviewed.

Clark said the suspect's Trailblazer in the parking lot of Walmart has been roped off in order for the department to secure a search warrant for the vehicle.

The suspect was transported by ambulance to North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. The victim was airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Clark said he could not comment on the relationship between the victim and the suspect or a motive for the shooting.

Walmart, Clark said, is expected to reopen sometime Sunday.

Watch www.galaxgazette.com for more details this morning and see Wednesday's print edition for more.