Grants Pass, Ore — An extremely tense situation at a Grants Pass shopping center Thursday morning had customers and employees scrambling to escape and police rushing in to help.
“When they do a complete total lock down, that’s a concerning thing for the community,” said Leslie Foley.
The 911 calls came in around 7am from the Wal-Mart in Grants Pass.
Minutes later, police and swat arrived at what was classified as an ‘active situation’.
“Employees inside the Wal-Mart describing a female that had obtained some knives at that point didn’t know from where, and was inflicting self harm on herself, blood trails in the aisles of Wal-Mart,” said Lt. Todd Moran with Grants Pass DPS.
Customers and employees were evacuated, the store put on lock-down. Police talked to the suspect, who they say hid in a bathroom.
“We had members from our SWAT team come with specialized tools and members from out Critical Incident Negotiating Team, and we negotiated with the lady for about two hours,” said Lt. Moran.
Eventually, she gave herself up.
“It was a mental health issue from someone who was self-harming and locked themselves in the bathroom,” said Foley.
Foley was at the Wal-Mart while police were negotiating with the suspect. She’s worked in the mental health field and says this case is especially frightening.
“It’s kind of scary for people who’ve never been around that sort of thing to be in the store with your kids, or even by yourself,” said Foley.
For police, it’s especially difficult, but they’re trained for these incidents.
“We transition into negotiations, we try to appeal to them, we contact family members to find out clues to how we can best resolve the situation,” said Lt. Moran.
With the situation resolved and no one else in danger, the suspect was taken into custody and for evaluation.
“At least the person will get the help that they need,” said Foley.
The Wal-Mart was closed for several hours while police finished their investigation.
If you or someone you know is hurting, know that you are not alone and there are people who want to help.
You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline anywhere, anytime, at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741 to be connected with a counselor immediately.
Matt earned a Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. Before joining NBC5 News, Matt spent a year in Alexandria, Louisiana as a reporter and anchor for KALB News. Matt was also a production assistant at KEZI 9 News in Eugene and an intern at CNN.
In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt loves his Oregon Ducks, the outdoors, craft beer and time with his dogs.