A cashier was killed and three others injured following a dispute over face masks at a Georgia supermarket, according to authorities.
The shooting took place on Monday afternoon at the Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur, a suburb east of Atlanta, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a news release.
Authorities said a man identified as Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, got into an argument with a cashier about his face mask. He left the store without making a purchase but then immediately returned, pulled out a handgun and shot the woman, according to the statement.
He then exchanged fire with an off-duty reserve DeKalb County sheriff’s deputy who tried to intervene, investigators said. Both were wounded.
A second cashier was grazed by a bullet and treated for the injury on the scene.
Police arrested Tucker as he was attempting to crawl out the front door of the supermarket, the GBI said. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and is reportedly in stable condition.
The cashier was pronounced dead at the same hospital. Her name was not released.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, a labor union representing essential food and retail workers, released a statement calling for better protections for essential workers.
“When grocery workers are forced to play mask and vaccination police, they put their lives at risk. This now resulted in the heartbreaking murder of an innocent cashier simply doing her job,” the statement said.
The sheriff’s deputy was treated at Atlanta Medical Center. He was hit twice by gunfire but was wearing a bulletproof vest, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said during a press conference, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Maddox identified the deputy only as a 30-year law enforcement veteran.
The GBI said it would conduct an independent investigation that would be turned over to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office for review.
Charges for Tucker are pending, it said.