On Saturday, a double amputee driving a motorized shopping cart reportedly shot a Wal-Mart employee in his stomach after the employee asked the legless man to put a leash on his service dog. The double amputee then attempted to flee the scene on the motorized cart, making it to the store's front door before being swarmed by police officers and arrested.
"There was some kind of dispute," [Police Sgt.] Hokenson said. "They were escorting him out of the store and something happened on the way out where the suspect pulled out a weapon and shot the employee."
One witness, Army Sgt. Carlos Morales, said a Wal-Mart employee told him about the shooting, but there was no store-wide announcement. "Some people were frantic. Some people were just shopping, because they didn't know," he told the Anchorage Daily News. "We didn't know if it was a live shooter, going crazy shooting up the store...You can't just continue checking people out, like everything is normal."
According to the Anchorage Daily News, shortly after the shooting there was almost no evidence a crime had taken place, save for yellow police tape piled behind the gun counter and an employee who told the reporter, "Sporting goods isn't going to be open for a little while."
The 33-year-old victim, Jason Mahi, underwent surgery and is in stable condition. Police charged the alleged shooter, 45-year-old Daniel Pirtle, with assault and misconduct involving a weapon. His bail was set at $50,000, cash-only. Pirtle's service dog, described as not much older than a puppy, was taken from the scene in a separate squad car; an Anchorage police officer is currently caring for it.
As for the overall scene, Sgt. Morales seems to have summed it up best: "I've seen a lot of crazy stuff in Anchorage, but this is probably the craziest thing I've ever seen."