ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police are investigating an officer-involved shooting Thursday afternoon at the Walmart where Lt. Debra Clayton was shot and killed in January.
Police said a man, identified Friday morning as 26-year-old Alexander Proctor, was shooting people with a BB gun around 4 p.m. in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot off John Young Parkway and Princeton Street.
A victim who was shot in the arm told police that he was loading groceries into his car when Proctor approached him from behind and said, "Hey." Proctor opened fire after the victim turned around to face him, police said.
"It was like, 'Hey, what’s up?' and (Proctor) opened fire with a BB gun," Orlando police Chief John Mina said.
Esther Ruiz and her three children, who were just a few feet from the man, saw Proctor shooting a man who was standing close to her.
"He just didn't look mentally right, though. He pointed a gun. It looked real at the time. It was a BB gun. And he started shooting it," Ruiz said. "It was like bop, bop, bop. And then all of a sudden he (the victim) starts screaming."
After Proctor fired the shots, Ruiz said he leaned on shopping carts and looked in her direction.
"There's, like, a wall where the parking lot is where the shopping carts go, and he's just leaning over it, just watching. We were just looking at him, like 'What do we do?' So I rush my kids in," Ruiz said.
Ruiz said she took her children inside the store. She said the store was put on lockdown for almost an hour.
Outside, she said the man was acting as though nothing had happened.
"He was just walking, like he wasn't afraid of anything. He didn't look mentally right. Like, looking at him, he looked like he was not right at all," Ruiz said.
After shooting the man in the parking lot, Proctor walked into the grocery store and made a purchase, and when he walked back outside, he shot at two other customers and parked vehicles, according to a news release.
When Officer Craig Adler made contact with Proctor at Lynx Lane and John Young Parkway, Proctor pointed the BB gun and shot at Adler, police said. The officer returned fire, hitting the man.
"The officer can't possibly know that this person is in some type of mental crisis," Mina said. "Our officers have to make these split-second decisions. He did give verbal commands, but as soon as he got out of the car he basically pointed the BB gun at him so he had to take action."
A closer look at the replica gun used by the suspect today. pic.twitter.com/NXFbnFfjCD— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 23, 2017
At least two people suffered minor injuries when they were shot with the BB gun, Mina said.
The BB gun did not have an orange tip and was black, Mina said.
"It looks like a real gun," Mina said. "The officer though it was real. He didn't know what he was being shot at with."
Police said Proctor bought the BB gun at Walmart Thursday morning, hours before the shooting, and still had the receipt in his pocket when he was taken into custody.
Mina said coming back to the Walmart for another officer-involved shooting so soon after Clayton was shot and killed there on Jan. 9 "brings up memories" of the tragedy.
"Certainly, the memory of Debra and having to come here again for an officer-involved shooting, that's one of the first things my staff and I talked about as we were, you know, kind of brings up those sad memories," Mina said.
He wasn't the only one that immediately thought back to that deadly Janurary day. Some shoppers Friday said they are starting to feel unsafe at that Walmart.
"If I'm by myself I will feel scared," shopper Sandra Andrews said.
She was was at the Walmart with her daughter and said she will never come to the Walmart at night.
"They should probably have police officers stationed here throughout the day, maybe at night," Andrews said.
The Orlando police officer has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure.
Officers performed lifesaving measures on Proctor after the shooting, police said. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he is in critical but stable condition.
The victims did not know Proctor, Mina said.
"(They) have no idea why he would be shooting at them," Mina said.
Proctor is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
Walmart provided News 6 with a statement about the incident.
“We know how important it is to maintain a safe and secure environment for our customers and associates, and we continually evaluate and work to strengthen our safety measures,” said Charles Crowson, senior manager