DECATUR, Ga. (NEXSTAR) – A triple shooting at a Georgia grocery store started with a dispute over a mask and left a cashier dead and both the suspect and a deputy wounded, authorities say.
The shooting happened at the Big Bear Supermarket near the South DeKalb Mall in Decatur just after 1 p.m., Sheriff Melody Maddox told reporters.
“There was some confrontation, an argument … in reference to the wearing of a mask,” Sheriff Maddox said. “At which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier.” The store employee, who hasn’t been identified, was killed in the shooting.
One of several people in the store at the time of the shooting was a 30-year DeKalb County Police Dept. veteran now working with the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy, Maddox said. He was working a part time job doing security for the store when the shooting happened.
The deputy shot the gunman but was hit twice during the exchange of gunfire. The bulletproof vest he was wearing at the time likely saved his life, Maddox said.
“This is what he is trained to do,” Maddox said. Reserve deputies are certified law enforcement officers who don’t actively work for an agency and can volunteer or work part time security jobs.
The officer, who authorities didn’t publicly identify, is being treated at Atlanta Medical Center and was in stable condition at the Monday afternoon.
“He is a stand-up, professional individual and he loves what he does,” Sheriff Maddox said. “As you see, he’s continuing to do what he does to make sure that everybody is safe as they go in and out of that store.”
The suspect was hit “a couple of times” Maddox said and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, but his condition wasn’t released.
Investigators were still working to determine the exact timeline and events that led up to the triple shooting Monday afternoon, Maddox said.
Decatur is an Atlanta suburb located about 6 miles east of downtown.