CITRUS HEIGHTS — As a man began firing a handgun and running along Greenback Lane near Sunrise Mall, employees and customers inside businesses in the area watched it all unfold.
“I heard the officer tell him about four to five times, ‘Drop the gun. Get down, drop the gun. Don’t shoot, don’t do nothing stupid,’” said Cedric Toles, who works at Batteries and Bulbs. “And next thing you know I just heard two shots and they just unloaded.”
Toles was in the parking lot of the store where he works collecting used batteries from a customer when the scene started taking shape on the streets of Citrus Heights.
“It seemed like a movie until the bullets started coming this way and then it was like, ‘OK, now it’s time to get down,’” Toles explained.
Officers say 26-year-old Grayson Schuessler first shot out a north window of a Macy’s store filled with shoppers at the Sunrise Mall.
As soon as they responded to the call about those shots being fired, police say the gunman took aim at them.
“They were literally just exchanging fire between each other. It started just from a horizontal, just a very horizontal shooting. Then it turned from vertical, you know, they were shooting from across the way,” Toles said.
Some of that exchange pierced a window at Brake Masters right across the street from Toles and his customer at Batteries and Bulbs.
He heard the suspect talking to himself as he tried to run from officers. He described Schuessler as wearing a ratty, gray T-shirt and overshirt with black cargo shorts and a black backpack. His dark hair was combed over his head.
“All I heard was, ‘I got to get out of here. I got to get out of here.’ That’s what he was yelling from across the street,” Toles told FOX40.
As Schuessler fired in the direction of K-9 Officer Axel and through the shirt of Axel’s police handler without causing any injury, Toles saw the gun.
“Revolver, it was chrome. It was pretty big, about that big, and it was pretty long,” Toles explained. “So I got full detail of it. It was so big that at one point, he couldn’t even shoot it with two hands. He was literally having to shoot behind him.”
The Citrus Heights Police Department later said the 26-year-old was firing a .357 Magnum revolver. He also had 20 additional rounds of ammunition for the handgun.
The gunman was killed by police at the scene.
Cedric Toles said he is grateful everyone survived Schuessler’s gunfire.
“At the end of the day it’s about choices and he just made the wrong choice. That’s all,” Toles said.
Many wondered why the Sunrise Mall didn’t go on lockdown since one of its stores was hit by gunfire. Police tell FOX40 that by the time that fact was realized, the entire incident was over.