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2 killed inside Toys R Us in Palm Desert

November 28, 2008 12:39:20 PM PST
Two men were shot to death at a Toys R Us store in Palm Desert.The shooting occurred at about 11:30 Friday morning.

Officials confirmed that two men were killed, but there has been no official count on many shoppers, and children were in the store when the incident occurred.

Eyewitnesses told ABC7 that there was an argument that escalated into shooting.

"It sounded like an argument. And then when the argument seems to be escalating, I told my little boy to ... get out of the cart. That's when we heard shots fired," said Sarah, an eyewitness.

Authorities say it all started when two women began punching each other near the registers. Each woman was accompanied by a man. Those two men, officials say, pulled out a handgun and shot each other.

Dan Wilson was on the phone with his wife while she was in the store.

"She just called me in a panic and I could hear the gunshots and I just told her to hide. And she hid ... I told her to turn off her ringer and she hid and called me back. The second call was hard, it was like a goodbye call ... she was terrified," said Wilson.

Officers were seen placing three people in patrol cars, which included a reported juvenile and a female. The three were not arrested.

At one point a family member of one of two men reportedly killed in the store lashed out at a suspect being detained.

"The officers went inside and located two deceased, Hispanic male adults. The deceased are towards the front portion of the store. We received many reports of what occurred. Our detectives are interviewing multiple customers that were inside. We're going to be talking to store personnel to find out what led up to this shooting," said Dennis Guitierrez, Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Toys R Us officials issued a statement on Friday:
"We are outraged by the act of violence that occurred today in Palm Desert, California, and the fact that anyone would compromise the safety and security of our customers and employees. We are working closely with local law enforcement to determine the specific details of what occurred. Our understanding is that this act seems to have been the result of a personal dispute between two individuals. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to associate the events of today with Black Friday."


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