An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man who brandished a gun inside a Costco Wholesale store in Lenexa.
The Kansas City, KS Police Department identified that officer on Monday as Capt. Michael Howell, a 22-year veteran.
The police department said Howell was confronted with a deadly force situation during which time he discharged his firearm, killing the armed assailant identified as 58-year-old Ronald O. Hunt of Edwardsville, KS.
Officers were called about 11 a.m. Sunday to the Costco in Lenexa near Interstate 35 and 95th Street on the report of a gunman inside the business yelling and threatening customers.
Upon Lenexa officers arrival, it was learned that Howell, an armed, off-duty Kansas City, KS police officer, had engaged with the gunman in the store.
Police said Howell had been made aware of the gunman by fleeing customers and fired shots at Hunt who died at the scene. No one else was injured.
“He was a big white guy. He had a camo jacket on, black revolver in his hand. He was just pissed and yelling at people," said Miguel Robles, a Costco employee and witness.
Lenexa Police Capt. Wade Borchers said Howell just happened to be in the store shopping when the incident happened. Investigators are still trying to determine what the armed man did before the shooting.JUST IN: The off-duty officer who shot and killed a man brandishing a gun at @Costco in Lenexa is 22-year police veteran with @KCKPDHQ, Captain Michael Howell @KCTV5— Natalie Davis (@NatalieKCTV5) November 27, 2017JUST IN: Police identify man brandishing a gun at @Costco, who was shot and killed by an off-duty officer, as 58-year-old Ronald Hunt of Kansas City, KS @KCTV5— Natalie Davis (@NatalieKCTV5) November 27, 2017Witnesses credit Howell with preventing mass shooting
Many people KCTV5 spoke with say Howell may have prevented a mass shooting.
"Thank God that police officer was there," Kelli Lassman said. "Thank God that nobody was hurt. I know that him being not in uniform, there could’ve been some ramifications. But thank God that he did what he was supposed to do and everybody was safe and it wasn’t a worse situation than it was."
They say the suspect was yelling and pointing a gun at witnesses.
Borchers says he's thankful the officer was there.
Hunt's motive and why he was in the store are under investigation by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team.
According to a police report, Hunt was a truck driver for Swift Transportation. KCTV5 News contacted the company, and they declined to comment.
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