Police arrest suspect in Thornton Walmart shooting; 3 dead
Posted November 2, 2017 12:17 p.m. EDT
THORNTON, CO — Police have arrested the suspect in a deadly shooting at a Thornton Walmart store.
Scott Ostrem, 47, was taken into custody Thursday morning at 72nd and Federal after a citizen tipped off police. Officers didn't say if they recovered any weapons.
Witnesses told Thornton Police that Ostrem "nonchalantly" walked into the store Wednesday night, took out a handgun and began firing randomly at people. Two men and a woman were killed.
Police have not yet identified any of the victims.
"This is a very heinous act," Avila said. "We don't know exactly what the motive of the person was, but it was certainly a terrible act."
Police originally reported "multiple parties are down" after they were called around 6 p.m. to the store located at 9901 Grant Street in Thornton. The store was evacuated as authorities arrived on scene and officers described the situation as "mass chaos."
Police found the victims in the south entrance. The two men were pronounced dead at the scene. The female victim was transported to Denver Health where she later succumbed to her injuries.
No other physical injuries were reported. However, police say several people received medical attention for anxiety. Several distraught employees could be seen in the parking lot comforting each other.
Investigators say there is no indication that terrorism was a motive, but have not ruled anything out at this point. They are still interviewing hundreds of witnesses and going through surveillance video.
Police said it took some time to identify Ostrem as the suspect in part because surveillance video showed other people in the store with guns drawn. Once Ostrem was identified, Thornton alerted other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.
Special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping police in the investigation.
The shooting at the busy shopping center forced customers to either hide in the store or frantically run for the doors.
Harold Stevens told Denver 7 he was in the store with his son when he heard at least three shots. He said an employee directed him and his son to a back door where they were able to escape safely.
A Walmart spokesperson said no store employees were injured in the shooting and issued the following statement:
The entire Walmart family is deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the families who lost loved ones and to all who were impacted by what took place. We are assisting law enforcement however we can and are referring all requests for information to them.
A tip line has been established for anyone who may have information about the shooting. Call 720-977-5069 to leave a tip.