A gunman is dead after a police shootout outside the IKEA store in Grand Prairie.
Witnesses who were locked down inside the store say they heard dozens of gunshots over several minutes on Monday.
The suspect is dead following a shootout with Grand Prairie police. Police say it's too soon to know who fired first.
Police were alerted to a man in a Black Cadillac by someone in the IKEA parking lot who called 911 because the man was slumped over inside the vehicle with the flashers turned on. Officers and an ambulance responded around 1:30 p.m.
“We have no idea what the purpose of this person was or what he attempted to accomplish,” said Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye.
As four officers approached the vehicle, Dye said they could not see his hands and believed he had a weapon. They used both non-lethal and lethal force. The chief says that's when the man pulled out a rifle and started shooting at police. Officers fired back and retreated for cover.
More police officers were called to the scene, bringing tactical equipment. IKEA and a nearby church were put on lockdown. Police say the shooter fired at officers and officers fired back two more times before there was no more movement in the vehicle. Officers then realized the shooter had died.
"We had both lethal and non-lethal force deployed because we could not see the suspect's hands,” Dye said. “The suspect later produced a rifle. The officers, in fear of their lives, returned fire and immediately retreated to cover where we began negotiations with the subject."
More than 20 shots were fired, according to witness accounts. None of those bullets struck an officer nor anyone at IKEA.
When there was no more movement coming from the Cadillac, officers knew the shooter had died. Police do not know if he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or by police fire.
While the standoff was happening at the edge of the IKEA parking lot, people inside the store heard the gunshots. Managers led them to seek shelter.
Tony London says they were down there for 20 minutes. He says some people were crying and having panic attacks. He says he noticed the strange black Cadillac on his way into the store earlier in the afternoon.
"On the way in, I noticed this black Cadillac. He had his blinkers on,” London recalled. “I looked at the guy and I thought, ‘He seems to be okay. Maybe he's just waiting for a tow truck to come and pick him up.’"
The gunman’s identity has not been released. Police only described him as an “African American male.”
IKEA tweeted a statement about the incident, saying customer and co-worker safety is the company's highest priority and that IKEA staff is fully cooperating with the investigation. The store is closed until further notice.
No other injuries were reported. The officers involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave.