MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (KDKA) — A young mother is dead and her father-in-law has been taken into police custody following a shooting in the parking lot of a Walmart in Morgantown, W. Va.
Authorities say the victim, identified as 29-year-old Shannon Stafford, was on her way to meet up with a family member to do some shopping when the shooting happened.
It was just before 10 a.m. Saturday when the parking lot became the scene of the deadly shooting.
“There was a man out in the parking lot shooting, and they were locking the store down,” said Cherie Johnson, a customer at the store. “Nobody was allowed in or out.”
According to Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston, the suspect has been identified as 54-year-old Larry Mitchell, Stafford’s father-in-law.
“He shot her several times as she sat in her vehicle,” said Chief Preston. “Stafford exited her vehicle as Mitchell continued to fire until she fell and collapsed.”
According to police, Mitchell then went back to his truck. But before he could take off, officials say several Good Samaritans held Mitchell down until police got there.
“He was basically admitting to it, the shooting; and once we got over there, we ordered him to the ground and we tried to tell him to be quiet,” said David Frischknecht, a witness.
Officers credit those who held Mitchell for their heroics, saying their efforts were critical in this case.
“This is one of those cases where who knows where we’d be right now had they not done that,” said Chief Preston.
Officers say others were also trying to help Stafford when they arrived, but the mother of one was dead. They say Mitchell’s son was currently divorcing Stafford, and that an ongoing domestic dispute may have prompted the deadly shooting.
Mitchell is facing charges of murder and is being held in the Doddridge Regional Jail in W. Va.
Authorities say they’re looking into how Mitchell knew Stafford was going to Walmart, but believe that he acted alone.