HOBART — Police took two people into custody and recovered weapons Sunday afternoon after a man was shot inside the Walmart off U.S. 30, an official said.
An off-duty East Chicago police officer took a man into custody after the shooting about 3:50 p.m. in the store in the 2900 block of East 79th Avenue, Hobart police said. A woman who had accompanied the man into the store also was arrested.
The wounded man was taken to a local hospital and tentatively listed in stable condition, police said. He was undergoing surgery Sunday night.
Walmart was evacuated after the shooting, and police said there is no ongoing threat to public safety.
Autumn Flick said she had paid for several items and was going to the produce section of the store to buy strawberries when she heard male and female voices arguing, followed by one gunshot.
"It was escalating really fast," she said. "I was like, 'Let me just go.'"
She started walking toward the customer service area when she heard the shot and people started screaming and running.
Employees opened an emergency exit door at the front of the store, she said. It was like a stampede, she said.
"There was one lady I saw, she was holding her baby like this and crying," she said, demonstrating how the woman held the child close to her chest.
Margaret Martin and her niece Lois Johnson, of Calumet City, said they were in the checkout line when they heard the gunshot.
Martin said Johnson initially told her to get down, but they both began to run when they saw others leaving the store.
"It was scary," said Martin, who left her purse in the store and waited outside the for some time before employees allowed her back in to retrieve it.
Martin and Johnson also made their way out through the emergency doors at the front of the store. Johnson said police were just arriving as they came out, and they drove to a nearby parking lot to wait for the chaos to die down.
Flick said the parking lot was full, and people were hiding behind cars.
"There were almost accidents" as people tried to drive away from the area, she said.
Flick dropped the items she had purchased inside the store and waited until about 6 p.m. before Walmart employees went inside and got them for her.
Weapons were recovered from the scene, Capt. James Gonzales said.
Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or can provide more information is asked to call Detective Sgt. Rod Gonzalez at 219-942-1125 or email email@example.com.
Sunday's shooting marks the second in less than a year at the Hobart Walmart.
Alex Hughes, 27, faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and criminal gang and firearm enhancements in connection with a shooting Sept. 30, 2018, that wounded a 26-year-old man and his then-9-year-old son.
Police said the shooting last year was gang-related.
Authorities have not yet released information on a possible motive in the shooting Sunday, but said they think it was "an isolated incident between known parties."
Detectives were still interviewing those involved and processing the crime scene.
The Hobart Fire Department, Merrillville Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's Department, FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting.
Check back at nwi.com for updates to this developing story.