Hobart, IN – An off-duty Indiana police detective went “beyond the call of duty” when a gunman opened fire inside a bustling Walmart store on Sept. 1, according to the East Chicago Indiana police chief.
East Chicago Police Detective Bill Johnsen was shopping with his wife at children when the sound of gunfire rang out in a nearby aisle just before 4 p.m., WBBM reported.
Det. Johnsen estimated that it took approximately 20 seconds for people inside the store to realize what was happening.
“You hear people start screaming, and then they start stampeding towards the exits,” he explained.
The detective shoved his wife and sons out a nearby door, then ran back inside to confront the shooter as his wife begged him to stay outside.
But running away from the attacker wasn’t an option he was willing to consider.
“It’s not gonna happen,” he told WBBM. “It’s not what you’re trained to do…You don’t want anybody else to get hurt.”
The off-duty detective ran back into the store and spotted one victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
“He’s hunched over, holding himself,” Det. Johnsen recalled.
As the detective began calling 911, the wounded victim suddenly turned around and pointed.
“There’s the suspect there,” he said, according to Det. Johnsen.
The gunman dropped to the ground and surrendered as the off-duty detective charged towards him.
“I took his gun, disassembled it, and then shortly after, two Hobert officers came in,” he told WBBM.
Police later determined that the victim and the gunman knew one another and had been feuding prior to the shooting.
The victim was rushed to a local hospital, and was listed in stable condition following surgery, the Hobart Police Department (HPD) said in a Facebook post.
The gunman and a woman who accompanied him into the store were both taken into custody, but the woman was later released without being charged.
East Chicago Police Chief Hector Rosario praised Det. Johnsen for his decisive action, and said he went “beyond the call of duty” to save others, WBBM reported.
“Had it not been for his swift, selfless actions, the situation could’ve been worse,” Chief Rosario told the news outlet. “He was able to stop the threat and prevent any further harm or danger to the patrons and workers inside of that store.”