YUBA CITY - A hostage standoff at a Yuba City Big 5 Sporting Goods store ended after the suspect, who police have yet to identify, surrendered, authorities said.
The man, wearing a white polo shirt and khaki pants, walked into the sporting goods store in the Food Maxx shopping center on Colusa Avenue at 11:17 a.m., grabbed an 18-year-old female cashier by the neck and fired shots into the air, according to Yuba City police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey.
One female employee and a second worker were held hostage at the Colusa Avuenue store, leading to a standoff with police, according to reports from the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. They were released unharmed, police said.
Around 12 customers were in the store at the time, but most of them fled. The suspect then demanded to get into the manager's office. Pavey said the manager called 911 after hearing the gunshots. The manager allowed the suspect into the office, before being ordered out of the store, Pavey said.
A woman who said she was shopping with her roommate said the gunman pointed the gun at all of them, but there was no eye contact, said the Appeal-Democrat report. The woman said the suspect seemed nervous.
She said she had a split second and I ran. She described the gunman as "so short he couldn't see over the shoes" in the shoe area.
"He had a definite agenda," according to the witness, who said he wanted to getinto the office.
About 25 people were held behind in the Two Bits Cafe across the parking lot from Big 5 during the standoff. For safety reasons they were unabale to get to their cars. They were told to go to the Yuba Sutter Mall across the street.
The standoff attracted more than a 100 onlookers to nearby stores and parking lots, where police have struggled to keep them at bay, according to the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. Customers and employees at surrounding stores were evacuated.
Police say they have yet to determine a motive but said it could be botched robbery attempt. There was no demand for money.
Authorities said they were initially worried about a potentially explosive situation. The Big 5 sold a variety of guns and ammunition.
"As far as we were concerned, the suspect had access to all of those guns," Pavey said.
After arriving on the scene, Yuba City police hostage negotiators contacted the suspect and he surrendered without incident at about 3:30 p.m.
No one was hurt, but "clearly people are traumatized," Pavey said.
- Richard Chang