Shooting under investigation at Walmart Supercenter, Lower Macungie Township
An investigation continues in the shooting of a suspected shoplifter at the Walmart Supercenter, 1091 Mill Creek Road, Lower Macungie Township, March 28.
In a press conference March 29, Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Richard H. D’Ambrosio, commanding officer of Troop M., Bethlehem, provided details of the incident.
“At approximately 8:50 p.m., a subject entered the Walmart wearing a mask and a wig,” D’Ambrosio said.
D’Ambrosio said the mask was an extremely lifelike mask – one of the silicone masks, “when you looked closely, you could tell it was a mask.” Later in the press conference, the mask was described as being similar to a Michael Myers mask from the movie “Halloween.”
“He [the suspect] is in the store for approximately 15 minutes walking through the aisles ... shopping, loads up a cart,” D’Ambrosio said.
At some point, a loss prevention officer at Walmart noticed the suspect and determined this is a subject who fits the description of someone involved in a recent theft at a Walmart in Schuylkill County earlier this month.
“The subject in that incident in Schuylkill County was confronted by a loss prevention officer as he was trying to walk out of the door,” D’Ambrosio said. In that incident, the suspect pulled a handgun on the loss prevention officer, who stepped away and the suspect left the store.
On March 28, in Lower Macungie, loss prevention personnel followed the subject around the store and contacted the state police barracks in Fogelsville. State police in Fogelsville received the call at 9:07 p.m. for a suspicious person walking around the store with a mask on.
The trooper responded to Walmart in two minutes, according to D’Ambrosio.
As the trooper entered Walmart, he tried to find the loss prevention person so he could be directed to the suspect. D’Ambrosio said the suspect saw the trooper come in and left his cart filled with big red gas cans and possibly other items, in one of the aisles and attempted to leave the store. The trooper encountered the suspect in the store vestibule and followed the suspect out of the store. Just as the suspect was exiting the store, the trooper told him to stop and the suspect took off running across the parking lot.
D’Ambrosio said investigators watched the surveillance video from inside and outside cameras at Walmart.
“Numerous witnesses see him while being chased by the trooper. He [the suspect] pulls a black semi-automatic pistol out of the waistband of his pants as he is running. The trooper yells at him to stop. As the suspect got to his car, he turned around and fired one shot toward the trooper,” D’Ambrosio said. The suspect got in his vehicle, pointed the gun through the glass at the trooper, who then fired several rounds at the suspect striking him multiple times, according to D’Ambrosio.
The subject was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshots.
Police located the 40 caliber GLOCK pistol in his lap at the scene.
D’Ambrosio said they are still in the early phases of the investigation.
The trooper, whose name is being withheld, is a 4-year veteran of the department who just recently transferred into the Troop from Hazleton. This is his first week in the Troop.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin, also at the press conference, said his office is investigating this incident as well as Troop M major case team and the lead investigator a trooper in Dublin Barracks in Perkasie.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, I will issue a report with my findings as to whether or not this shooting was justified; however, based upon the information we have to this point, it would appear to me preliminarily it was a justifiable shooting,” Martin said.
D’Ambrosio said they cannot confirm at this time if the suspect was the same individual in the Schuylkill County incident; however, he did confirm the suspect had prior arrests.
He said the trooper was not hurt in the incident is “doing ok.”
Two other state troopers appeared on scene just as the shooting occurred.
D’Ambrosio confirmed the suspect fired one shot and the trooper fired nine shots.
State police cleared the Walmart scene at approximately 2:30 a.m. when the store reopened.
On March 30, Lehigh County Coroner Scott M. Grim identified the suspect as Aaron Ibrahem, 26, of Mertztown, Longswamp Township, Berks County.
“The cause of death is attributed to multiple gunshot wounds. Upon the completion of the investigation I will rule upon the manner of death,” Grim said.
In a statement to The Press, Casey Staheli, senior manager, national media relations, corporate communications, Walmart said, “Keeping our customers and associates safe is among our top priorities. Since this is an ongoing investigation, we must refer all questions to local law enforcement.”