A former employee was fatally shot by police Thursday, January 19, after opening fire at an Indiana Walmart, critically injuring one victim, local authorities said. Following the incident that happened last week, we learned many details surrounding the incident. However, there remain questions that need to be answered. Here’s what we’ve found so far, based on various sources and police reports:
Around 10:00 p.m., a former Walmart employee identified by police as Ronald Mosley II, 25, entered the Evansville, Indiana Walmart and interrupted the nightly team meeting where employees had gathered in the store’s break room . Using a 9mm pistol, Mosley reportedly ordered a group of about a dozen employees to line up against a wall while he ordered Amber Cook and another male employee, Gary Cardwell, to remain in the center of the room. He then approached Cook and shot her in the face. The male clerk – also targeted by Mosley – stormed out of the room and Mosley gave chase.
“It was a lot scarier than you can imagine just having that gun pointed at you,” says Cardwell. He credits former active rifleman training with saving his life, adding that training took over and gave him a simple but critical message. “In situations like this, it’s run, hide or fight,” he said. “I chose to run”
During the riot, Heather Moore — the night team leader — was able to leave the room undetected and called 911. As Mosley chased the male employee out of the break room, she ran back into the room to help the victim and took her into another room, locking the door and turning off the light before Mosley returned and searched for his wounded victim searched. Police believe her actions saved Cook’s life.
“I have no doubt that he (Mosley) would come back to finish what he started and we would probably have a dead victim today instead of a living one,” said Evansville Police Commissioner Billy Bolin.
Law enforcement officers responded within minutes, confronting Mosley at the exit before running back into the store. Afterwards, Mosley shot officers as he tried to escape. The ordeal lasted about 15 minutes before Mosley was finally killed. About 40 employees and 40 customers were in the store when the incident began, but no one else was injured.
“There were multiple times that he actually shot officers before they could actually shoot him,” police spokeswoman Sergeant Anna Gray told reporters during a Thursday night briefing.
What led to the shooting?
Mosley reportedly had a history of violent behavior, and the shooting marked at least the second time he assaulted Walmart employees. Police say he has been charged with quadruple assault after assaulting four people inside the store in May 2022.
According to court records, Mosley was an employee at the time. While working in the shop, he reportedly attacked a colleague, punching him in the face and throwing him to the ground. He later told police he “passed out” afterward, but continued through the store and went into the office, where he began punching another employee “in the face while seated.” When the manager stepped in to try to separate the two, Mosley pushed the manager against the wall. Police say Mosley then followed the victim into the store and continued to assault him. He also reportedly punched another nearby employee on the shoulder.
In the affidavit, Mosley claimed he had problems with people at work and “lost control.” A man who was one of those victims told police that Mosley was “mad at him” before the attack because he told Mosley he had no romantic interest in him, according to the affidavit. Police say his employment was terminated after the incident.
In a separate incident, court filings further show that Mosley was also charged with “battery with assault” in April 2019. Additional information from this incident has been redacted and is not currently publicly available.
After the 2022 store attack, Mosley pleaded guilty to four counts of battery, and the case has been referred to the Vanderburgh County Mental Health Court, county prosecutor Diana Moers said Friday. Moers said Mosley was required to report to authorities about every two weeks and had complied with mental health treatment ordered by the court. She added that the shooter was in fact in court on Thursday afternoon – the day of the shooting.
However, about four months after the April incident, he wrote in a Facebook post that he “had a dream where I (two of the employees) beat each other up again… Best (power) dream ever.” Several people responded responded to the thread, accusing Mosley of threatening to hurt or kill other Walmart employees.
According to Jenny Couch, Amber Cook’s mother, her daughter was targeted by Mosley because “he was in love with her boyfriend…when[the boyfriend]told Mosley he wasn’t romantically interested in him, Mosley got angry with Cook.” and threatened to kill her,” she told a local news station. “He was constantly texting my daughter … He kept calling her and telling her he was going to kill her, that he was watching her walk her dog.”
According to police, a suicide note was later found in the shooter’s home. “He absolutely intended to die last night,” Chief Bolin said. “It’s really sad to hear that someone is in this condition, and at the same time it makes you angry.”
Investigators don’t yet know how or when Mosley acquired the pistol or how many shots he fired. According to Indiana records, Mosley had five active protective orders against him. However, a protective order in Indiana does not immediately disqualify a person from owning a handgun. None of the protective orders noted that he had been ordered by a judge not to possess a handgun as a condition of the order.
Victim remains in critical condition
Evansville Police said Friday that Amber Cook, the victim of the shooting, is in stable condition after being rushed by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital.
Cook faces a long road to recovery after the shooting. Her mother reports that she has already had two surgeries and her right eye had to be removed. More surgeries are planned, including reconstruction of her forehead, lower jaw and nose. Severe swelling and other potential concerns ultimately dictate the timing of these procedures. She added that Amber will deal with the psychological aspects of the incident for the rest of her life.
Despite life-threatening injuries, Couch reports that her daughter is “very strong…strong-willed, strong-minded.” Amber is surrounded by her loved ones in an Indianapolis hospital. She talks and they encourage her to eat. Her mother added that Amber plans to reach out to everyone who has reached out when she is feeling better.
The Walmart team responds
Both Cardwell and Amber Cook’s family thanked their colleagues for their response, with Cardwell referring to his colleagues as his “Walmart family” due to their continued support following the incident.
Based on what we’ve learned so far, it’s fair to say that given the tragic and intense circumstances, the store’s team responded in a way that should be commended. The results could have been significantly worse. Based on the information available, it appears that they followed proper training and protocol, and used both courage and common sense in their response. Local authorities also commended this response, reiterating that their actions and decisions saved lives.
Walmart reports that the store has not yet reopened at this time. “The store will remain closed while we support our staff and determine next steps. A reasonable reopening date has yet to be determined.”