SAN JOSE -- A Walmart store erupted into chaos and at least four people were hurt Sunday when a man rammed an Oldsmobile Cutlass through the entrance, then attacked an employee and shoppers with a blunt object, police said.
At 11:15 a.m., the unidentified driver in the red, two-door Cutlass Salon struck two other automobiles in the Walmart Supercenter parking lot, at 777 Story Road, in East San Jose and then crashed through the pharmacy and market entrance and continued a few dozen feet until colliding into a beer display. After leaving his car, he picked up an object inside the store and assaulted people, seriously injuring at least one, said San Jose Police Officer Albert Morales.
One of the injured victims was a Walmart employee.
The assailant, described as a man in his 30s, was tackled and tied up by bystanders, according to one shopper who did not want her name used. Police said the driver was arrested and is being treated at a local hospital. As of Sunday afternoon, police had not identified him, Morales said, and would only say his injuries are not life-threatening.
The person suffering serious injuries and three others who sustained lesser, non-life-threatening injuries, were transported to a local hospital, Morales said.
Shocking car moves
Sharon Kaye of San Jose was still feeling shaken on Sunday afternoon after her car was sideswiped by the Cutlass. She said the driver first hit a car near the parking lot entrance, then struck her 2009 Honda CRV as she was waiting in it near the front of the store to turn into a parking aisle. The Cutlass then sped up and down other parking aisles, again approaching her car head-on.
"Oh, my goodness, he's going to hurt someone," Kaye said she thought to herself as she turned from confused to frightened. The speeding car drove over collision debris, passing her car on the right. It did another turn around the parking lot, then came from behind Kaye's car, drove between cement pylons on the walkway and tried unsuccessfully to veer into the glass doors at the store entrance, she said. When the turn proved to be too acute, Kaye said, the driver backed up and came at the doors from a wider angle and plowed through them and the door frames.
"I stood there shocked," she said. "It was very scary." She told the first arriving police officer that he needed to call for backup.
According to police, once inside the store, the driver exited the car and began assaulting people. One shopper said the weapon appeared to be a metal bar.
Inside, Morales said, "people were running out of the store, people were crying, people were just confused about what was going on."
Shopper Tianna Doan of San Jose said that a Walmart cashier was struck and suffered a head injury. She also said that shoppers were trying to take the driver out of the car and hold him down.
Paramedics treated the injured and placed them in ambulances. Police cordoned off the parking lot.
The store was evacuated and closed for several hours, Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said. "We're obviously very concerned about the associate who was injured."
Authorities hauled the car away around 2 p.m. and crews were working to repair the automatic doors where the car crashed through. At mid-afternoon, they were still interviewing some of the 70 people they had identified as witnesses, Morales said.
Police did not identify the victims, nor their conditions.
Kaye, an opera singer and voice teacher, said although her car lost its bumper, sustained other damage and had to be towed, she is grateful that she was not seriously injured. She had just attended Easter services and left church early to pick up ingredients to make scalloped potatoes for Easter dinner.
"I did not get the potatoes," she said. Her son picked her up from the parking lot. Although she plans to get checked out by her doctor Monday, she said, overall, "I am very blessed."