Julie Belew of Springfield said she stopped at the store Thursday afternoon to buy milk, and before she could exit her car she heard someone nearby shout: “Is that a real rifle?”
Walking straight toward her Kia Soul, coming down a grassy rise, was a young man with a rifle, wearing a bulletproof vest and military-style clothing. He had his hands raised.
She turned and saw another man near her car aiming a handgun at the man coming down the hill. Belew now believes this was the off-duty firefighter, who responded when he saw the man with the assault rifle.
Someone shouted at the man, “Why are you walking around in a tactical jacket carrying a rifle?” Belew said. She did not hear what he said back.
“He did not seem surprised. He did not seem angry. He looked like he had accomplished whatever he wanted to accomplish,” Belew said.
Police told the young man to get on the ground, she said. The man got on the ground and was handcuffed.
Lucas said police would be reviewing any surveillance video from the store and also checking the suspect’s social media accounts to see if he was live-streaming the events.