South Bay News

Police: Car crashed into SJ Walmart; Driver attacked customers

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A man bent on destruction drove wildly through the parking lot at the San Jose Walmart on Story Road before crashing through the store. His wild ride wasn't over, though. Officials say he got out of the car and started attacking customers.

This all started Sunday around 11:15 a.m. when customers and Walmart workers saw a red car come speeding into the parking lot. Before the driver careened into the front doors of the store, witnesses say he sped several times around the parking lot and even crashed into a couple cars.

"I heard a bunch of people screaming and I heard this loud noise like it was gunshots but that's not what it was, I don't know what it was," Marie Smith said.

The noise was an Oldsmobile crashing through the doors of the store. It ended up 30 feet inside the store.

"All of a sudden, I see all kinds of people running and screaming toward the back of the Walmart," customer Rick Sorci said.

One witness said the driver seemed intent on inflicting carnage because he sped through the parking lot several times before crashing into the store. Other witnesses said the driver was gunning the engine of the car as he sped through the parking lot. Some people figured he may have reached speeds of 40 miles an hour at certain points.

We talked with one Walmart worker who asked us not to reveal his identity. He said he and other workers tried to warn pedestrians who were trying to go shopping, "He drove through the bushes over the grass to Story Road and then he came back, and drove up the aisle way and swerved, trying to hit people."

The driver hit Sharon Kayes' grey minivan as she waited to make a turn, "He hit one car before me," she said. "And hit me, I was waiting to turn into this aisle and he hit me and made another round and hit the stuff that he knocked off the car, made another round, made another round, so it's really a blessing that pedestrians didn't get hurt."

After hitting her car, Kaye says he headed for the Walmart doors near the pharmacy, "He went right up the sidewalk here and couldn't make the turn of course, backed up and made the turn."

After crashing into a beer display the driver got out of the car. Workers say he then started his rampage on customers inside the store.

"He had grabbed something and put something in his hand so we were telling everybody, 'he might have a gun, everybody get out of here!'" a Walmart employee said. "And people were just running, frantic."

He apparently had a car club in his hand that Quentin Harris saw him start to swing, "Then I saw the guy start striking anybody coming toward him," he said.

San Jose police say officers responded, but it seems as though a group of enraged customers were able to subdue the man, wrestling him to the ground before police arrived.

"The officers didn't have to use force on the driver," Lt. Lawrence Ryan said. "The onlookers might have used force to take him into custody."

Officials say two people were taken to a local hospital with anywhere from critical to serious injuries. The driver of the car was also hospitalized, though the extent of his injuries is unknown at this time. Police say they're amazed more people weren't hurt or killed in this wild rampage

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Tags:
san jose, walmart, crash, violence, crime, shopping, south bay news
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