Sheriff: Cashier fatally shot after argument over face masks

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DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A grocery store cashier in the Atlanta area was killed and two other people were wounded Monday in a shooting that followed an argument over wearing face masks in the supermarket, authorities said. 

DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said the shooting occurred inside the Big Bear Supermarket at South DeKalb Mall in Decatur while several people were inside the business. She said a female cashier was killed when a man opened fire. 

"There was some confrontation, argument — I'm not sure exactly what — in reference to the wearing of masks, at which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier," Maddox said at a news conference. Maddox said she did not know the details of the argument.

A reserve deputy, who was employed parttime for security with the store, returned fire and shot the subject, the sheriff said. The deputy and the suspected shooter were injured, she added. 

The deputy is a member of a reserve unit of deputies not actively working for a law enforcement agency but still a certified law enforcement officer. Such deputies can work with a sheriff's office on a volunteer basis and can work part time security jobs, the sheriff's department said. 

Maddox said the deputy's response might have kept other people from being hurt.

“That is what he is trained to do,” Maddox said. 

Maddox said the deputy was hit twice by gunfire but was wearing a bulletproof vest and was taken to a medical center where he was in stable condition. 

The suspect, who was struck a couple of times, was taken to a hospital, Maddox said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. The man's condition wasn't immediately available.

The sheriff said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.

Decatur is a suburban community about 6 miles (10 kilometers) east of downtown Atlanta. 

Authorities said the supermarket is located next to The Gallery at South DeKalb mall but not a mall tenant.