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Fort Lewis shooting leaves 2 dead

  • Story Highlights
  • Alleged shooter is a 59-year-old retired soldier, Fort Lewis spokesman says
  • Slain woman was a civilian who worked as a vendor at the post, spokesman says
  • "I heard five to six shots and hit the floor," witness says
  • FBI will lead probe into shootings on the federal facility, spokesman says
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SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) -- A man at a Fort Lewis army post on Wednesday fatally shot a woman before turning the gun on himself, military authorities said.

The shootings on Wednesday occurred outside the main post exchange at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

The shootings on Wednesday occurred outside the main post exchange at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

The man, who was hospitalized earlier in the day, was pronounced dead late Wednesday, Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Kubistek said.

The man shot the woman and then shot himself in the head, said Maj. Mike Garcia. He said the shootings occurred outside the main post exchange, as retail stores at military installations are called.

Garcia said the 59-year-old shooter was a retired soldier. The woman he shot, Garcia said, was a civilian who worked as a vendor in the store. Neither was identified.

Kathy Johnson had taken her elderly mother to shop at the store when shots rang out. "I heard five to six shots and hit the floor," Johnson said, "I was hiding under a clothing rack and people were yelling that we were being taken hostage."

Eventually, Johnson said, customers were told over the store intercom that it was safe to leave the store. Outside military police had surrounded the store and were posted on nearby rooftops, she said,

It was not immediately clear what the relationship between the man and woman was, Garcia said. He said since the shooting took place on a federal installation, the FBI would lead the investigation into the shootings.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report.

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