COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Two people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide inside a Jimmy John's Thursday afternoon.
Witnesses inside the sandwich shop said a man shot a woman and then turned the gun on himself around 3:45 p.m. near the 7700 block of Harkness Drive South.
"It wasn't pretty. There was blood all over," said Grant Tymesen, an employee at Jimmy John's.
He was working inside when he says a woman came rushing in running for her life.
"Two shots went off. I'm pretty sure it hit her in the back. She went down. And I told my employees to stay in the back," he said.
General Manager Joseph Burns described the man as looking "angry" as he entered the restaurant. Employees told KARE 11 he then turned the gun on himself while workers hid in the back.
"I just bolted. And everybody else went into the refrigerator," said Burns.
Tymesen tried calling police while he was in the refrigerator but he said he couldn't get a signal. So he grabbed a knife for protection, walked behind the counter and called 911. No customers were inside at the time.
"(I) saw him and the girl laying there, walked up to him, he was still breathing and alive with the hole in his head," he said.
The woman died on scene. The man was taken to Regions Hospital where he died from his injuries. Police would not say the nature of the couple's relationship.
The incident started in the parking lot, when police say the man could be seen chasing the woman while shooting at her.
Anytime Fitness is located next door and the gym's surveillance video captured the outside confrontation on camera, according to company spokesperson Mark Daly.
He said the video appeared to show the man waiting for the woman.
He said it was in the process of being turned over to police.
"I heard a pop," said Steve Mack who was inside Anytime Fitness.
Mack says a stray bullet went through the front window of the gym and he heard several people screaming. No bystanders were injured.
He believes the woman was working out at the gym before the shooting started in the parking lot, but officials would not confirm that.
"This is a public event. This happened in front of a lot of people.
We're getting statements right now," said Cottage Grove Police Chief Craig Woolery Thursday afternoon.
Woolery says the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation. Authorities were still on scene Thursday night.
"It's surreal," said Burns.
And for those who witnessed the violence, they are now forced to deal with what they saw.
"Why do people do things? It is human nature what they do and it's crazy," said Mack.
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