DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 New s at 10) — An employee at Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur shared what happened as an argument over a face mask turned deadly on June 14, 2021, and an angry customer killed his co-worker.
Matthew Bowers, who works in the meat department, described the moment after the gunman stormed into the store. “A couple of old women ran in [and said], “Oh my God, there’s a shooting! There’s a shooting,” he said, also describing how he led customers to safety. “I’m escorting the customers [saying], ‘Everybody follow me. Everybody go upstairs,” he said. Bowers led them to the refrigeration room, as the gunman shot at cashier Laquitta Willis, 41, and killed her.READ MORE: Ghosts of Ybor City
Authorities identified the shooter as Victor Lee Tucker, 30. They say he left the store after arguing with Willis about a face mask and returned with a handgun. “He knew what he wanted to do, and he was kind of just looking for a reason, something to tick him off,” Bowers said.READ MORE: Atlanta HBCU Students Demand Better Housing Conditions, More Funding
After shooting Willis, officers say Tucker exchanged gunfire with DeKalb County Reserves Deputy Danny Jordan, who was working as a security guard there. A bullet grazed another cashier. “I saw the aftermath of the deputy being gone, and my co-worker was on the ground,” said Bowers. Authorities say they arrested Tucker as he tried crawling out of the front entrance of the store. Both Jordan and Tucker are recovering. Bowers shared what he’ll remember most about Willis. “She was such a sweetheart,” he said. “I tend to forget my punch card a lot, so she would always write me down, take a few minutes off.”
Customers came to a makeshift memorial located outside the front entrance. They shared their outrage that a face mask resulted in such a horrific outcome. “I told my husband, ‘I need to go take them flowers and some cards and find out more about this person,'” said Debra Hunter. “When I heard about it, I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ so I had to just rush over here and see what was going on,” said Joanie Joy Morgan, a minister.MORE NEWS: Drive-Thru Pumpkin Patch Put On By Sheriff Chad Chronister
Willis’s family didn’t want to go on camera, but they told CW69 they were encouraged by the outpouring of support.