Off-duty officer shopping inside Hobart Walmart stops shooter

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HOBART, Ind. — An off-duty officer who happened to be shopping at the Hobart Walmart when shots rang out inside the store Sunday is speaking out.

East Chicago police detective Bill Johnsen was shopping with his family at the Walmart at 2936 E. 79th Ave. around 4 p.m. Sunday.

He said he heard the shots fired inside the store as hundreds ran for the exits.

“It was an all-out stampede to the door,” Johnsen said. “That’s not a sound you hear inside a store very often.”

Johnsen got his wife and two sons out the door fast then went back in. He located the victim who was shot.

“The suspect is 30—40 feet behind him,” Johnsen said. “(He was) not doing much, just getting ready to lie down. He’s saying self-defense so he goes down on the ground. I go over there, take his gun, disassemble it and shortly after, a couple of Hobart officers came in.”

Police said the person who was shot was stabilized and will be transported to a hospital for treatment.

“It’s something you try and prepare for,” Johnsen said. “You tell your kids, ‘Hey stay with me.’ Something I try to tell my wife is ‘Let’s stay together.’ You try not to separate too much in stores because you never know nowadays.”

The suspected gunman remains in custody.

A woman who was with him was released without charges.

Investigators say the shooting started as an argument between people who know each other, but it escalated.

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