Aaron Christopher Kelly: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

richland shooting suspect

Richland Police Department Richland Police Department released this photo from surveillance footage which they believe shows the suspect from a shooting at a Fred Meyer store. One person was killed and another person was injured.

Aaron Christopher Kelly has been identified as the suspect in the shooting at Fred Meyer in Richland, Washington. He remained at large Monday night, February 7, 2022, in the hours after one person, Justin Krumbah, was killed and another was injured at the grocery store. He was arrested less than 12 hours after the shooting.

Police confirmed the identities in a Facebook post and said at the time the manhunt for the suspect continued. Police also released Kelly’s mugshot in the post, and said the wounded victim was still in critical condition in a local hospital. That statement was published shortly before 10 p.m. Pacific time.

The Tri-City Herald identified Kelly as the 39-year-old suspect shortly before police published his name, referencing court documents and an internal police memo, and named the deceased victim as Krumbah, a 38-year-old Instacart shopper who had a “positive can-do attitude.”

The shooting at 101 Wellsian Way was reported at 11:03 a.m. local time, Richland Police said in their initial news conference shortly after the shooting. They were called for a report of shots fired inside the store.

Police released a statement at about 1:30 p.m. saying they were continuing the search for the suspect, describing him as a middle-aged white male. Anyone with information on Kelly or his whereabouts was asked to call 509-628-0333.

Richland is a city in southeastern Washington with a population of about 50,000, according to online records.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. A $1 Million Nationwide Warrant Was Issued for Kelly & He Is Charged With Premeditated Murder

The Tri-City Herald reported that a $1 million nationwide warrant was issued for Kelly. He is charged in Benton County Superior Court with premeditated first-degree murder, the newspaper reported, referencing online court records.

The newspaper reported that Judge Dave Petersen signed the warrant after probable cause was found for Kelly’s arrest.

In addition to the court documents, the newspaper reported that an officer safety memo was circulating on social media and identified Kelly, although the memo was meant for internal circulation.

Kelly is 6-feet tall, 190 pounds and has blond hair and blue eyes, the memo says. Police wrote in the memo that he drives a silver 2005 Honda Civic with Washington license plate number BXC3305. It was not immediately clear if he was driving the vehicle the day of the shooting. Police further said that Kelly had been wearing a “black puffy sleeveless shell/vest over black and gray plaid shirt and light colored pants or jeans.”

Police arrived on the scene within one minute after the initial 911 call, officials said.

“What happened in our city today was a senseless and tragic act,” Richland’s Interim Police Chief Brigit Clary said in a news conference. “Our hearts and thoughts are with the families of the victims and the employees at the store and all of our community that have been affected.”

A GoFundMe was set up to raise funds for Krumbah’s family and for his funeral expenses. The online fundraiser had generated more than $11,000 as of 9 p.m. local time Monday evening.

People who knew Krumbah wrote about his uplifting spirit, and said his presence at the store brought joy to their lives.

“He was great around the store, always full of energy,” one person wrote on the fundraising page.

Another person wrote that Krumbah made difficult days easier.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Justin over the last month or so as he’d been coming to the store every day I was working,” the person wrote. “He always had a smile on his face and was an absolute joy to be around. He was far and away one of my favorite parts of coming in and made those extra hard days seem not so bad. He will be missed dearly by everyone at FM.”

2. ‘We Will Not Rest Until He Is in Custody,’ Police Said at a News Conference & He Was Arrested Less Than 24 Hours After the Shooting

Richland’s Interim Police Chief Brigit Clary said during a news conference that they will find the shooter.

“We want to assure our community that we are taking every measure to locate the suspect,” she said. “We will not rest until he is in custody.”

Richland Police said at a news conference in the hours after the shooting that they had identified the suspect, but they were not immediately releasing his name. The wounded person was a store employee, and the deceased person was not, police said at the news conference. The victims were not identified publicly on Monday evening. The Fred Meyer employee was in critical condition at an area hospital several hours after the shooting, according to Richland Police Commander Chris Lee.

Police asked for the public’s help in finding the suspect, but said that anyone who sees him should remain vigilant. He is considered armed and dangerous, Lee said.

“He is still at large,” he said. “We believe he is armed with a handgun.”

Richland Police issued a statement at 6 a.m. Tuesday, February 8, 2022, saying Kelly had been arrested without incident at about 11:30 p.m. They said he was being transported to jail to face first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges. The arrest occurred on Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane, police said. Sprague is about 110 miles from Richland, and Spokane is about 145 miles from Richland.

3. Kelly Was Arguing With a Victim in the Store Before Shots Were Fired, Surveillance Shows

Police said that surveillance footage shows the suspect, later identified as Kelly, in a heated argument with one of the victims before shots were fired.

Commander Chris Lee said in the news conference they did not know the source of the apparent contention, which ultimately turned deadly.

“Initial reports were of yelling and possible gun shots within the store,” Lee said.

Police reviewed surveillance footage from Fred Meyer immediately after the shooting in hopes of locating a suspect and victims who were sheltering in place in the store. The suspect had already fled when police arrived, officials said, and surviving victims were escorted outside of the store to safety.

Police obtained several clear photos of the suspect from the surveillance footage. Although he was covering his face at times, police were able to capture a still that showed most of his face. That photo, and others, were released to the public.

Lee said in the initial news conference that officers arrived on the scene of the store to find one person dead and the additional person injured.

The photo shows a white male with his hair parted on the side and wearing a plaid shirt with a dark-colored down vest, a black gaiter or scarf pulled over his nose, light-colored pants and athletic shoes. Police are also looking for a light-colored or white pickup truck they believe is associated with the suspect.

4. Richland Police Said Dozens of Departments Were Involved in the Shooting Response & Manhunt

Anyone who spotted Kelly was told to call 911 and not approach him, police said, adding he was considered armed and dangerous.

Richland Police released a statement on Twitter thanking the many departments assisting in the investigation.

“We would like to thank all of the Law Enforcement Agencies that have worked diligently to support the Richland Police Department and our community during this tragic event,” the police department wrote on Twitter, and tagged the Kennewick, West Richland and Pasco police departments, Washington State Patrol, Benton County Emergency Service, the ATF, the FBI and U.S. Marshals.

“In addition we’d like to thank The Prosser Police Dept. Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office. Umatilla County, Hermiston Police Dept. Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Umatilla Police Dept. AFT Yakima, Port of Pasco Police Dept. Connell Police Dept.,” the statement continued. “We’d also like to thank the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.”

5. ‘Our Communities Are Standing Together,’ Said a Union President Representing Workers

United Food and Commercial Workers 1439 and UFCW 21, two unions representing workers, released statements in the aftermath of the shooting.

“Our communities are standing together in support of our co-workers and others in the Richland community who have been impacted by this shooting. Workers in our local grocery stores have experienced many safety concerns over the last two years under COVID. This tragic shooting is another shock to all of us. No one should have to worry about their safety when going into a store to get groceries for their family. We stand together with everyone in our community against this violence.” said Eric Renner, President of UFCW 1439.

UFCW 1439 said it represents workers in the Fred Meyers store, in addition to workers at other stores and workers in food processing and other industries.

“Today, and in the coming weeks, we will do whatever we can to get support to the workers from this store and the local community,” said Faye Guenther, President of UFCW 21.

UFCW 21 represents workers at grocery stores in western Washington and workers in other industries, including health care workers in Richland, Washington.

READ NEXT: Justin Krumbah Identified as Victim in Richland Fred Meyer Shooting

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