SEATTLE (AP) – Police have located a suspect in the random shooting deaths of three people at a Yakima, Wash., convenience store after he borrowed a stranger’s cell phone to call his mother and confess what he had done, authorities said Tuesday.
The suspect shot and killed himself behind some warehouses as officers approached, Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said. No police officer used force and no one was injured, he added.
Police surrounded Jarid Haddock’s family home after the pre-dawn killings on Tuesday, but he was not there, Murray told a news conference. Instead, the 21-year-old went to the Target section of the city, where he borrowed a woman’s phone and called his mother.
The woman overheard the conversation, which included incriminating statements such as “I killed those people,” as well as the man’s threats to kill himself, according to Murray. The woman then managed to get her phone back, broke away from Haddock and called 911 to report her whereabouts, Murray said.
“I listened to that call — it’s pretty sickening,” Murray said. “I have to thank her again because she was very brave to bring us there.”
Murray said investigators still have no idea what prompted the shootings. Haddock entered a Circle K convenience store shortly before 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and shot and killed two people who were getting food there, then went outside and shot someone else in a car.
“There was no apparent conflict between the parties,” Murray said, citing witness statements as well as surveillance footage. “The male just walked in and started shooting.”
He then walked across the street to another gas station and started shooting at his car to get inside because it had locked itself, Murray said.
Police did not immediately release any information about the victims.
The attack is another outbreak of violence in the first weeks of 2023, as the US endures a wave of mass killings that has claimed dozens of lives.
After the murders, police released a video of the man and warned the community to be vigilant. Police converged on his parents’ home, across the street from a warehouse on the outskirts of the city of nearly 100,000, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. Court records state the home is listed as Haddock’s previously known address.
Haddock appeared to have little criminal history. He was arrested in March 2020 after police saw him in a car that had been stolen from a woman who left him for work; he ran from officers who stopped him, according to charges filed in Yakima County Superior Court, and reported being homeless.
He successfully completed the diversion program, although he violated its terms twice by using methamphetamine or heroin, and the charges were dismissed in December 2021.
At the Yakima Riverside warehouse, across the street from a house surrounded by police, receptionist Tabitha Johnson said she took the unusual precaution of locking the door, which can be watched through windows and security cameras.
“It’s pretty scary, but Yakima is not new to shooting,” the 39-year-old said.
Associated Press writers Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, and Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon, contributed to this report.