WILLARD, OH — One of the three women held hostage inside a northern Ohio store Wednesday says she thought she was going to die.
A gunman killed an employee before turning the gun on himself and police say he had no connection to the store or the hostages.
“What he said was, ‘this isn’t a robbery; this is a hostage situation.’ He used those words and he said ‘I’m going to kill all three of you and I’m going to kill myself because I’m suicidal,'” Joann Sarver of Tiffin told FOX 8 News.
Sarver was a customer and one of three women who were held at gunpoint inside a Family Dollar store in the Huron County town of Willard around 5:15 p.m.
“Right now, I don’t have a motive. As far as any other issues, I can speculate, but without certainty. I don’t know what this situation was. I don’t know why he showed up there,” said Willard Police Chief Mark Holden.
Holden identified the gunman as Shawn Schuett, 19. He says hostage negotiators tried to get Schuett out of the store for three hours, but say he ended up killing cashier Kim Kelley before turning the gun on himself. That allowed another employee to leave.”
“One of the hostages came running out the back of the store saying that the man just shot the other hostage. At that time, SWAT made entry into the front of the store,” said Chief Holden.
Sarver says she convinced Schuett to release her before he fired his gun.
“I told him I was going to get fired if I didn’t go to work and I was trying to call off and there were problems with my phone and I just lied and lied and I didn’t want to lie; I hate lying. I didn’t even know stuff was coming out of my mouth. I was just saying stuff like that. I just did it because I didn’t want to die,” she said.
Sarver says when she first called 911, the dispatcher thought she was a prank caller because she wasn’t making sense, trying not to alert Schuett. She ended up calling her ex-husband.
“I kept saying to send Josh, who’s his brother that’s a cop that I never talk to. I kept saying, ‘send Josh to work on my car, it’s not right. I’m at the Family Dollar in Willard.’ Just to send Josh and he says, ‘you need the police?’ And I’m like, ‘yes, send Josh,'” said Sarver.
Willard police are still trying to figure out why Schuett chose to take hostages inside that particular store.