A 45-year-old Umatilla truck driver claims he shot a woman in a crowded grocery store Monday evening because he thought she was part of a group out to get him.
Matthew David McQuin told Richland detectives he believed the 33-year-old woman was following him and was about to spray him with a chemical.
He responded by shooting the stranger once in the head inside the WinCo Foods off George Washington Way in Richland, according to court documents.
McQuin — whose Facebook profile says he is an Army veteran — then walked to the front of the store, put his pistol on a checkout stand and sat down on a bench to wait for police, documents said.
“We are investigating possible mental health issues that McQuin may have experienced in the past,” Richland police said in a Facebook update Tuesday.
The first 911 callers at 7:40 p.m. reported several shots being fired in the store. Investigators later discovered that McQuin shot only one round.
The victim was a customer at the 101 Columbia Point Drive store. Police did not release her name, but said she lives in Richland.
She was treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center and later released. She reportedly still needs surgery for the bullet in her head.
McQuin appeared Tuesday in Benton County Superior Court before Judge Cameron Mitchell, who found probable cause to hold him on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder.
Prosecutor Andy Miller asked for bail to be set at $500,000, saying McQuin’s “behavior appears unpredictable” and his primary residence is in Oregon.
If McQuin is charged, court-appointed attorney Ryan Swinburnson can revisit the bail issue, said Miller.
McQuin is expected back in court Thursday.
According to a court document, Officer Todd Gilbert and two colleagues arrived at the store and immediately were directed by employees to McQuin, who was sitting on a bench.
Sgt. Allen Jenkins ordered him to get on the floor, he cooperated and was handcuffed.
“While walking to my patrol car, McQuin stated there were a bunch of people out to get him,” Gilbert wrote in the document. “He also stated, ‘She is in on it.’ “
A later check of the store’s surveillance footage showed McQuin pointing the gun at the woman’s head, but the gun appeared to malfunction, the court document said.
“McQuin brings the gun closer to himself, manipulates the firearm and then points it back at the victim, firing one shot hitting her in the head,” Gilbert wrote.
The woman ran away from McQuin after being hit, according to the document. That’s when he put the gun down and waited for police.
The first officers arrived at 7:41 and he was arrested within minutes. Benton County jail records show he was booked at 1:30 a.m.
The Richland Bomb Squad searched his red Honda parked in a handicap spot directly in front of the store. McQuin’s dog was inside, but there were no reports of finding any explosives. The Labrador was turned over to the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter.
The WinCo was closed Monday night while police collected evidence and interviewed customers and employees. That part of the investigation wrapped up about 5 a.m., and the store later reopened.
Richland detectives on Monday asked Umatilla police to secure McQuin’s home until it could be searched.
In the hours following the shooting, people flooded social media with their concerns about this being the second shooting in a crowded public spot in Richland this month.
Several commenters said they planned to get their concealed carry permits or start arming themselves, while others lamented the recent uptick in violence.
The last shooting left Sergio Rivera, 22, hospitalized for a week and a half, after being shot during a fight in Howard Amon Park on July 4.
And in May, an altercation at a Richland dog park left one man shot in the foot when two men wrestled over a gun.
Richland police are asking anyone with information on the WinCo shooting who haven’t talked to police to contact Sgt. Drew Florence at 509-942-7654.