A Missouri police officer was among four people killed after a gunman crashed his vehicle into a Springfield gas station and convenience store Sunday night — and then went inside, where he opened fire on customers and employees.
The officer, 32-year-old Christopher Walsh, was one of the first to arrive on the scene and “died a hero, rushing in without regard to his own safety to protect members of his community,” Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said in a statement released by the department. “His courageous actions serve as an example to us all.”
Police identified the other victims as Troy D. Rapp, 57, of Springfield, an employee of the Kum-N-Go convenience store where the shooting occurred; Shannon R. Perkins, 46, of Springfield, an employee of WCA Waste Corporation; and Matthew J. Hicks-Morris, 22, of Springfield, a customer in the store.
A fourth person, not identified by police, remained in critical condition Monday at a hospital.
The gunman also died at the scene from what police described as “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.” He was identified as Joaquin S. Roman, 31, of Springfield.
According to police, a call at 11:24 p.m. reported a shooting, and while officers were en route to that location, multiple other shooting calls were received before an 11:43 p.m. call that dispatched officers to the Kum-N-Go store.
“We believe one individual is responsible for each of these incidents,” police said in a news release.
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Callers reported a vehicle crashing at the Kum-N-Go and an armed individual entering the store and shooting.
The first two officers to arrive were met by the suspect firing at them from inside the store, fatally wounding Walsh and injuring another officer, Josiah Overton, whose injuries were not life-threatening, according to police. Other responding officers were able to enter the store, where they found the suspect and three others dead and one person critically wounded.
“All victims appear to have been shot by the suspect,” police said in a statement.
The department said Walsh, who is survived by a wife and daughter, was shot while attempting to rescue another shooting victim and died at a hospital from his injuries. The Springfield native had been a member of the force since 2016 and was an Army veteran, having also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years.
“Both of these officers showed significant bravery and were heroic in their actions,” said a statement from the department.
Another statement said: “Our hearts are heavy.”
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