A good guy with a gun who also happened to be an off-duty police captain shot and killed a gunman at a Kansas Costco on Nov. 26. Now, authorities have released CCTV footage of the incident showing that good guy carefully tracking the suspect before opening fire offscreen. Watch the clip above.
According to the Kansas City Star, a man later identified as 58-year-old Ronald O. Hunt walked into the Costco in Lenexa at around 11 a.m. armed with a 12-inch-barreled revolver and shouted, “I’m an off-duty U.S. Marshal, I’m here to kill people.”
Employees and customers started running towards the back of the store in fear for their lives. Along the way, they passed Capt. Michael Howell of the Kansas City, Kan. Police Department. Howell, who was off-duty at the time, was at the Costco with his friend to buy an electric fireplace for his new house.
Realizing what was happening, Howell used “his tactical advantage,” Lenexa Police Chief Thomas Hongslo later said at a press conference, slipping in behind Hunt as he followed customers and employees to the back of the store. Howell started darting and weaving through aisles, getting closer to Hunt, all of which can be seen in the surveillance footage.
When Howell got close enough to Hunt, he shouted, “Police! Drop the gun. Don’t move.”
Hunt didn’t react. When Howell repeated the order, Hunt then turned around and aimed his revolver at him. Howell opened fire, killing Hunt.
After an investigation into the shooting, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said Howell “acted with extreme courage, and saved an unknown amount of innocent lives,” and therefore wouldn’t face any charges.
Not surprisingly, Hunt was not a U.S. Marshal. Records indicate he was actually a long-haul trucker.
“My greatest fear was we had kids with their moms, with their grandmas, with their dads,” Howell later recalled. “It was little kids running and screaming. And seeing the fear in their faces and knowing whatever it took, I had to do whatever necessary to end this threat so they wouldn’t get hurt.”
Howell modestly rejects praise for his actions that day, saying simply, “I’m just a cop doing my job.”
He’s also glad he was armed that day. In fact, he says he’s always armed, even while off-duty.
“You never know what situation you are going to find yourself in whether it is a restaurant or a shopping mall, or just driving down the road,” he said. “I think it would be ludicrous not to be prepared.”