Details on Mitchell’s shooting emerge


Kaitlyn Engen

Rebecca Pettingill standing where she witnessed the shooting that took place the night prior. She returned to work the next morning.

By Kaitlyn Engen, News Editor

One small-town grocery store. One disorderly man with a knife. Three bullet holes in the wall. One dead body.

Questions still linger as the  Washington State Patrol investigates the events of Sept. 3.

Mitchell’s Harvest Foods employees, like Rebecca Pettingill, try to process what they witnessed on that otherwise quiet night.

It was just before closing time at the small Cheney grocery store, according to Pettingill. The day’s extensive list of tasks had left Pettingill and her co-workers eager for a peaceful night ahead.

11:45 p.m.—finally. Pettingill shuffled her way toward the front door to turn out the lights.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

“Is someone banging their hands on the glass?” Pettingill recalled thinking to herself.

Pettingill inched closer toward the doors, feeling both curious and inconvenienced. In her view were two police officers with guns drawn.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Pettingill and her co-worker exchanged similar dumbfounded looks.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Another co-worker is startled by falling drywall.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Without any formal lockdown plan, the four women scurried to the manager’s office—safety. They called the police and fixed their eyes on the security-camera screens.

One co-worker kneeling just across from Pettingill broke her silence: “Guys, I was just shot at,” Pettingil heard her say.

A female EWU officer came in the store. A male officer showed just a few minutes later. The women  stepped outside the office.

Pettingil looked at the female officer. She noticed blood on her uniform.

Pettingil looked up. She saw the bullet holes that were pierced on the right end of the store just four feet above her co-worker’s head, which was dusted with broken wall plaster.  

Pettingil looked outside. She saw a man of average build, dead, just 20 feet in front of the store.

1:15 a.m.—the women asked the officers to escort them out. They had given their statements, and it was time to finally go home.

“I realized later that I was walking toward gunfire””

— Rebecca Pettingill

New details have emerged since the night that left Mitchell’s employees with so much confusion.

The dead man at the scene was identified as Steve L. Anderson, 40, whom three Cheney police officers— Officer Zebulon Campbell, Officer Nicole Burbridge, and Reserve Police Officer Nicholas Horn—had confronted.

According to Cheney police statements, Anderson was armed with a knife. He had disobeyed commands to drop his weapon and proceeded to “aggress” toward the officers.

Anderson was pronounced dead by multiple gunshot wounds, even after lifesaving attempts by EWU police, Cheney Fire Department, and AMR personnel.

The three Cheney police officers have been placed on administrative leave as the case is investigated.

It is still unknown who made the initial call to the police.

Pettingill’s co-worker was not the only one that had dodged serious injury that night. A bullet was later found on the left end of the store just short of a propane tank, right near where Pettingill was witnessing the event.

But Pettingill, despite her emotions of the night prior, was back in her work uniform at Mitchell’s at 11 a.m. the next day, just 10 hours after leaving the scene.

Courtesy of Google Maps
Mitchell’s Harvest Foods is located on 1st and J Street. Anderson’s body was estimated to be 20 feet in front of the store.