Reno store shooting: ‘His goal was to get even and embarrass Walmart’ — (RGJ.com)

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RGJ.com

7:24 PM, Oct. 26, 2011 |

More than three hours after John Dennis Gillane barricaded himself in an office after gunning down three of his Walmart managers, he picked up the ringing desk phone.
He did not speak.

“John, are you there?,” asked Reno police Officer Patrick O’Bryan, who ultimately successfully convinced Gillane to peacefully surrender on Oct. 29, 2010. “He said ‘Yes,’ and we just started talking. Mr. Gillane was agitated and incredibly angry. He had a lot of hostility. I just listened.”

During the third day of Gillane’s trial on attempted murder charges, O’Bryan explained that Gillane said he was angry about the store’s management.

O’Bryan said Gillane told him that he was trying to get the managers’ attention and obtain justice for the thousands of Walmart workers in Northern Nevada. The last time Gillane worked a shift at the Kietzke Lane store was about a week earlier. He had worked for the store for nine years and had been fired and rehired sometime during that period.

“I told him he was successful,” O’Bryan testified. “His goal was to get even and embarrass Walmart. It was now all over the TV. I told him he got his wish.”

During their hours of conversation, O’Bryan said Gillane expressed no remorse for shooting managers Richard Sanders and Eric Hill. Although he said he felt bad for twice shooting Rick Burns, who has said he then “played dead” so that Gillane would stop shooting. Gillane, O’Bryan said, referred to Sanders as “The Coward” and called Hill curse words.

Witnesses and victims testified earlier that Gillane chose whom he shot. He scanned people in the hallway, telling one woman, “not you,” and skipped another man whom he grinned at, and then called Hill a curse word before shooting him in the chest.

Seconds earlier, Gillane shot Sanders in the leg after he chased him down the hall. He last shot Burns in the arm and abdomen and walked past his motionless and bleeding body into the office where he barricaded himself until O’Bryan convinced him to obtain medical treatment for his migraine and anxiety.

Gillane’s attorney, Christopher Frey, said Gillane, 46, admits to shooting and injuring the men. Frey said Gillane didn’t try to kill them, which is the focus of the trial.

Deputy District Attorney Elliott Sattler said that Gillane felt like he was a failure, was broke and his personal problems left him at the end of his rope. Sattler said Gillane intended on killing the men who offended him, and that he was trying to go out in his own blaze of glory.

Weeks earlier, O’Bryan had responded to Gillane when Gillane was armed and suicidal in a motel room. Gillane was arrested on an unrelated warrant, and O’Bryan contacted Gillane’s family to tell them he needed help. Gillane thanked O’Bryan during a phone call after that jail release, police have previously said.

O’Bryan said that Gillane remembered him on the phone the day of the shooting, which helped O’Bryan gain a rapport with him. He said Gillane told him Sanders caused the shooting by fleeing from his office when Gillane held them there at gunpoint and demanded he summon other managers to the room.

But O’Bryan said that Gillane became especially upset when they discussed his former wives, who left him for other women, and his estranged relationship with his children. He said Gillane was also having some complications with antidepression medication.

Reno police Sgt. Zachary Thew testified that he found several loan receipts in Gillane’s vehicle that showed he owed multiple loan centers hundreds of dollars in payments that were due weeks earlier. Sattler said Gillane had $5 in his bank account and his rent was soon due for his Reno apartment.

O’Bryan said that he tried to convince Gillane that he needed to surrender peacefully for the sake of his then 5-year-old daughter. But it didn’t work, he said.

“Mr. Gillane flat-out said my daughter is better off without me,” O’Bryan testified. “… he felt powerless. He didn’t have control of his life, so he lashed out (at his employers) in an act of desperation.”

O’Bryan said that Gillane had just purchased a Halloween costume for his daughter and intended on taking her trick-or-treating. Something happened between the purchase of the costume and the day of the shooting, O’Bryan said, which is still unclear.
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After Gillane purchased a box of .44-caliber ammunition at the store ­ using his employee discount ­ he hid in the employee restroom for 72 minutes, police said. The shooting took minutes, and then Gillane was barricaded in the office for more than three hours when O’Bryan called him. Two hours later, he surrendered.

A condition of the surrender was that Gillane be able to apologize to April Carr for pointing his loaded .40-caliber revolver at her and screaming to “Get the (expletive) out.”

O’Bryan said he brought her to where Gillane was being treated in an ambulance where the pair briefly spoke. The officer, now retired, said Gillane was also concerned about Burns’ condition and said he didn’t mean to shoot him.

Gillane told O’Bryan he was disgruntled at Walmart for reasons that included: They were opening a new store that was causing employee hours to get cut; his medical insurance cost was increased; he believed Hill was going to give him a bad evaluation and thought it wasn’t fair because Hill didn’t know him well; and he greatly disliked Sanders and Hill.