Suspected Kmart gunman found dead

December 3, 2008 5:44:44 AM PST
The person wanted in connection with a shooting at a Philadelphia Kmart committed suicide this morning while police attempted to serve an arrest warrant, police tell Action News.

Police came to serve the warrant for 30-year-old Anthony Birch at his 124 West Albanus Street address in Philadelphia's Olney section. They say they heard a gunshot go off in a second-story bedroom, and later confirmed that Birch had sustained a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The warrant comes after a Tuesday morning shooting at the Kmart store located at 8800 Frankford Avenue in the city's Torresdale section.

Police say it started with an argument between a female employee and her boyfriend in the front of the store. The man, later identified as Birch, followed the woman into the store by way of the back loading dock, where the altercation continued.

Investigators say a 35-year-old male manager attempted to intervene. At some point, Birch pulled out a gun and the manager was subsequently shot three times.

One bullet grazed the victim's head. Two other bullets hit him in the arm and chest. By Tuesday night, that manager was hospitalized in guarded condition.

Rob Schippert, who works overnight, says the manager is highly regarded. "He's a great guy, I'm really shocked. I'm stopping to talk to him now on my way home," Schippert said. "He was the one who helped me get a job here."

No other employees or shoppers were injured in the shooting.

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