Victim ID’d in deadly Walmart shooting; suspect’s bond set at $5M

Suspect charged with aggravated murder, jail records show.
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 4:01 AM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 12:15 PM EDT
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FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - The suspect in a deadly Walmart shooting in the northern Cincinnati suburbs Thursday night is under arrest on aggravated murder and other felony charges.

Police identified the shooter Friday morning as Anthony Freeman Brown, 32, of Hamilton.

The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, has been identified as Adam Lee Black, 35, from Columbus, Ohio, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Brown was taken into custody in Middletown, in the Lowe’s parking lot off Roosevelt Boulevard and Interstate 75 shortly after 4 a.m., Lanier confirmed.

Brown was booked into the Butler County Jail at 6:20 a.m. on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and having weapons under disability, jail records show.

More charges may be pending, police say.

Anthony Freeman Brown
Anthony Freeman Brown(Butler County Sheriff's Office)

Brown’s arraignment was hastily scheduled Friday morning in Butler County Area II Court in downtown Hamilton.

“We look forward to our day in court. He is presumed innocent and I am going to conduct my investigation and find out what evidence they have supporting the charges against him,” his lawyer, Clyde Bennett II, told FOX19 NOW before the hearing.

Hamilton County Area II Court Judge Kevin McDonough set Brown’s bond at $5 million.

A bond amount that high under current Ohio law is “unconstitutional,” Bennett contends. He said he plans to swiftly challenge it.

At the time of the shooting inside Walmart Thursday night, Brown was free after his father posted his $200,000 bond in another armed robbery case. There was no additional order requiring him to wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure he stayed home while awaiting trial, FOX19 NOW confirmed with court officials.

Butler County Prosecutor Micheal Gmoser says Brown was not ordered to wear a GPS tracking device because he was local and did not have much in his past to warrant a GPS device.

Brown was indicted Dec. 8 on an aggravated robbery charge. He brandished a handgun, took cash from the register and lottery tickets in an Oct. 23 hold-up at Minnicks Drive-Thru convenience store in Hamilton, according to a court record called the “Bill of Particulars” that lists specific allegations.

That case returns to Butler County Common Pleas Court next week, on Tuesday, with a hearing to suppress evidence, the latest court records show.

After the shooting Thursday night, Fairfield Township tracked Brown via cell phone pings. It brought them to a hotel off Roosevelt Boulevard near Interstate 75 called the Fairfield Inn, according to Butler County dispatchers.

A SWAT team arrived, and a FOX19 NOW crew at the scene observed multiple law enforcement officers go into the hotel to begin searching for Brown just after 4 a.m.

Minutes later, our crew saw a man in a red T-shirt run out of the hotel, fleeing police. They chased after him and took him into custody without further incident.

The SWAT team and Lanier left the scene by 4:40 a.m.

Authorities searched through the night for Brown after they say he shot an employee and shopper in an attempted robbery at the Fairfield Township Walmart store just before 8 p.m. Thursday.

Brown’s father, Anthony Sr., told FOX19 NOW he dropped his son off at the Walmart on Princeton Road off Ohio Bypass 4. He said he had no idea what his son intended to do, though.

One of the shooting victims was shot in the head, and the other was shot in the chest, according to police.

Adam Black was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

The other victim was taken to UC West Chester Hospital in critical condition, he said.

Here are more details police announced early Friday:

Officers were dispatched to Walmart for shots fired inside the store. Before they arrived, dispatchers provided a grim update: two victims were shot inside the store, and the shooter had left.

Witnesses gave police the suspect’s description, which included a COVID-19 mask.

These witnesses said he tried to steal items from the electronics section, according to the police statement.

“A shopper intervened and the male suspect was able to pull away and run toward the front of the store where another shopper tried to stop him. The suspect pulled out a handgun and shot and killed that shopper,” police wrote in the statement.

“Another person who was in the area was also struck by a bullet and was transported for medical treatment. The suspect vehicle was located by Hamilton PD and detectives are interviewing a passenger who was in that car as well as other witnesses.”

After the shooting, the suspect fled the scene in a vehicle, which was located late Thursday by the Hamilton Police Department after the shooting in the area of 13th Street and Hensley Avenue, according to police.

One male who is not the suspect was in the vehicle at the time, and police are currently “working with that person,” Lanier said.

The Walmart on Princeton Road is closed Friday.

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