A shooting at the Carrs-Safeway supermarket in West Anchorage on Saturday morning injured an employee as he attempted to keep a group of young people who trashed the store from coming back inside.
The shooting occurred close to 6:30 a.m., police said, a time when few shoppers were in the store on the corner of Minnesota Drive and Northern Lights Boulevard. A witness described a male member of the group throwing pottery and scattering seed packets and other items on the floor near the entrance before employees closed and blocked the doors.
One employee, who was wearing a white smock, held the automatic doors shut.
"This made the culprit even angrier, and he started throwing stuff at the doors and breaking the glass," said witness Ken Gutsch. "There were pottery shards and glass all over the place. The culprit then shot at least twice and hit the Carrs employee in the right thigh and right forearm."
It was not clear why a key or some other locking mechanism was not available. A manager said he could not comment and provided the phone number to Safeway's public relations office, which did not respond to messages left several hours after the incident.
The Anchorage Police Department, which is investigating the case, did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails requesting more information. By Saturday evening, police had not released a description of any suspects.
The employee, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital. His injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said. Officers responded at 6:48 a.m., police said in a written statement.
"The other Carrs employees did a great job of wrapping and putting pressure on the two bullet wounds while the police and EMTs were on their way," Gutsch said. "The injured man was conscious and talking coherently, but in pain. He was bleeding from the bullet wounds and there were pools of blood on the floor."
An official account from police described "a group of unruly teenagers" who were "fighting inside the store; breaking merchandise and even one urinating in the aisles." It's not clear how the police knew the alleged perpetrators were teenagers.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Anchorage police at 907-786-8900.