Man shoots ex-girlfriend inside Wal-Mart, then kills himself
FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (WSVN) -- A woman is recovering in the hospital in serious condition after a man opened fire at a local Wal-Mart and then killed himself.
According to friends who said knew the couple, George Shepherd allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend, Chanel Gibbs, inside the Wal-Mart where she worked, located at 33501 South Dixie Highway, just after 10 a.m. Wednesday. Florida City Police confirmed the couple had a relationship, but have not officially released their identities. "She was shot in the stomach, in the arm and one of her main arteries in her leg," said family friend, Travis Hemingway.
Shoppers inside the store said they feared for their own lives when they heard the gun shots. "I was scared I was on the floor, people were screaming. I thought they were going to come around and shoot everybody," said one Wal-Mart shopper.
Another shopper said she did not at first believe someone was shooting inside the store. "There must have been like five or six shots, and they definitely sounded like firecrackers," said another witness. "They were coming from the section where the bicycles were at. Then I heard the woman screaming. Once I heard that I took off running."
Rescue crews airlifted Gibbs, a mother of four, to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in serious condition. Friends and family appeared at the scene visibly shaken and concerned. "She's my mama," said Yoshiba Gibbs, as tears streamed down her cheeks. "I just want her to be OK," Gibbs said.
Police later found Shepherd's body in his house, several miles north of the Wal-Mart. His distraught father was at the scene and was met by the police. "I didn't know nothing," said Shepherd's father. "They just told me he just died."
Friends said Gibbs had problems with her boyfriend, but no one thought it would escalate to this attempted murder-suicide. "The guy that she was seeing for like two months, she wanted to break it off," said Tisha Williams. "He didn't want to accept that, so he beat her up."
Shepherd had a criminal past. He was convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child, which made him registered sex offender. He also had a conviction of felony battery.
Florida City Police along with Homestead Police continue to investigate.
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