Man injured in Walmart shooting remains in hospital

Court documents: Suspect threw alleged murder weapon when police closed in for arrest

FAIRFIELD TWP. — A Fairfield man remained in the hospital Tuesday recovering from his injuries suffered during a shooting inside a Butler County Walmart Thursday night where another man was killed by the gunfire.

Anthony F. Brown, the alleged shooter, remains in jail after he was taken into custody by a SWAT team at Fairfield Inn in Middletown several hours after the shooting. Police said Brown, 32, was wearing dark clothing and a health safety mask when he ran from the Walmart on Princeton Road after the shooting.

According to court documents, Brown “threw (a) gun when approached and arrested by law enforcement that matches the description of the murder weapon used and video surveillance footage.”

Brown is being held on $5 million bond charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, having weapons under disability and is waiting a preliminary hearing this week or for his case to be presented directly to a grand jury.

Adam Black, 35, who had recently moved to the area from Columbus, was killed by a gunshot wound and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office. Black was a customer in the store.

Eric D. Ruff, 57, of Fairfield, was hit by gunfire and remains hospitalized, according to Fairfield Twp. Police Chief Chabali. Ruff is an employee of the store.

“(He) is still in the hospital. At this time I would label it as non life-threatening at this time,” Robert Chabali said on Tuesday.

Brown is accused of shooting the two men while trying to steal steal cell phones, police said.

ExplorePHOTOS: Law enforcement at Walmart where shooting occurred

During video arraignment Friday morning, Brown’s attorney Clyde Bennett III entered not guilty pleas on his client’s behalf.

At the time of the Walmart incident, Brown was free on a $200,000 bond and awaiting trial for an aggravated robbery with a gun committed on Oct. 23, 2021, according to court records.

The Hamilton Police report said in the Oct. 23 incident, Brown allegedly robbed an employee at gunpoint at Minnick’s Drive Thru on Dixie Highway, taking cash and lottery tickets.

A Walmart employee had opened the case containing the electronic items for Brown when a shopper intervened. Brown pulled away from the shopper and ran toward the front of the store, where another shopper tried to stop him, according to police.

Brown pulled out a handgun and shot and killed that person, later identified as Black, who attempted to help. Ruff tried to help and was struck by a bullet, according to Lanier.

The suspect fled, but officials had a description of the car and license number. The vehicle was stopped in the area of Hensley Avenue and 13th Street in Hamilton. Court records list Brown’s address in the 1300 block of Hensley.

Fairfield Capt. Doug Lanier said they found only Brown’s father in the car. He was questioned for hours by detectives and permitted to go home.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office was “inundated” with 911 calls, many from friends and family of people inside the store, said Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer.

A group of people were hiding behind pallets in the back of the store, one caller said. One woman said she was hiding under a cashier’s desk and the pharmacist and employees in that department said they had locked themselves in the bathroom.

Suspect captured in Middletown

Detectives are trying to determine how Brown got to Middletown after leaving the scene of the crime, but as of Tuesday afternoon there are no charges against anyone for aiding him.

Middletown Sgt. Earl Nelson said the department was contacted late Thursday that Brown’s cell phone was pinging somewhere in Middletown and the hunt began. At one time there was a large police presence at the Walmart on Towne Boulevard.

When the investigation led detectives to Fairfield Inn on Roosevelt Parkway, about 15 miles from the Walmart on Princeton Road, multiple agencies searched the area and learned Brown may have been in a room at the hotel. During a search of the building, Brown jumped out of a first-floor window and attempted to run from the area, dropped a handgun and was taken into custody, according to Fairfield Twp. Police.

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