Two sheriff's deputies were killed Wednesday when a lone gunman, who was killed in the resulting shootout, opened fire inside a Panera Bread restaurant at a busy Maryland shopping center during lunchtime, authorities said.
The first shooting took place inside the Panera after a deputy responded to a call at 11:46 a.m. about someone causing a problem, reported the Associated Press. One witness, 15-year-old Sophia Faulkner, said she and her mother were at the restaurant at the time and almost sat near the suspect but decided not to because he appeared "sketchy" and disheveled.
He was sitting at the back and hadn't ordered anything, eventually prompting a sheriff's deputy to be called to the restaurant about a disturbance. The deputy sat next to the suspect and tried to ask him how he was doing, but he was shot in the head.
"I saw him fall back out of his chair, and the blood started coming out," Faulkner said, according to Fox News. "I didn't know how to process it. My mom said, 'What's going on?' and I said, 'Get down, someone just got shot."'
The deputy was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
The suspect then fled the scene, and shortly afterwards responding officers arrived, receiving a description of the suspect and the general direction in which he was headed. At least three deputies caught up to the suspect, and the four engaged in a shootout, leaving the suspect dead at the scene and one deputy wounded, who also died later after succumbing to injuries, according to the International Business Times.
The other two deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
The suspect was later identified as 67-year-old David Evans, who has two outstanding warrants, one for assaulting an officer in Florida and another for unspecified reasons in Maryland.
With his history in mind, authorities say they believe he opened fire because of police involvement. "I think the suspect took that action because he was wearing a police uniform," the sheriff said about the first deputy who was shot. "He certainly targeted him."
Investigators believe Evans acted alone.