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UPDATE: GSP identifies suspect in Thomasville Walmart crash

031523 car crashes into walmart in thomasville georgia Image (1).jpeg
Posted at 2:12 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-11 12:54:49-04

UPDATE 3/16/2023 9 a.m.: Khalil Amarion Pugh has been identified as the suspect who wrecked into a Walmart store in Thomasville Wednesday, killing one person and leaving several others injured.

Georgia State Patrol says around 11:46 a.m. Wednesday, Thomas County 911 dispatched all units to Walmart Supercenter where a gray Toyota Camry had driven into the store, leaving multiple people injured.

Based on investigation and witness interviews, the vehicle, driven by Pugh, was seen driving recklessly at a high rate of speed in the store's parking lot. According to GSP, Pugh drove the vehicle into the North entry and exit doors of the store, hitting multiple people, one of which succumbed to his injuries on scene.

GSP says Pugh attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended on scene by bystanders inside the store.

Stewart Baird, who was visiting Thomasville, said his son witnessed the crash and saw the suspect leave the car and flee into the store.

"In fact, the driver evidently got out of the vehicle, and started to wander into the shopping crowd as if he was just shopping and walked pretty close by my son and his friends," Baird said. "Then, two other members of the public grabbed the guy and put him on the ground."

Pugh was transported to Archbold Memorial Hospital and charged with 1st degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license.

GSP also identified the victim who died as Kenneth Kennedy from Monticello.

UPDATE 3/15/2023 5:27 p.m.: Walmart will no longer be opening at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Thomasville PD says corporate announced the store won't reopen until Thursday morning.

UPDATE 3/15/2023 4:30 p.m.: The Thomasville Police Department announced on its Facebook page that Walmart will reopen at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Thomasville PD also released a statement on Facebook around 5:10 p.m. that read:

There was a tragic incident today at Walmart. Someone lost their life. Our thoughts and prayers are with that person's loved ones and all of the responders from various agencies who worked this incident today, as well as the Walmart employees and patrons who witnessed the accident. Any media inquiries should be directed to the Georgia State Patrol.

We want to clear up a few rumors we have seen making the rounds. Here are a few facts for you. There was no shooting. There was no high speed police chase. Law enforcement was not involved until after the crash.

Please take care to share ONLY factual information from official sources and help to avoid causing any more harm than has already been done. We would also ask that you reconsider before sharing any photos of the accident/incident scene to respect the privacy of those involved.

Thank you all. Please stay safe out there.

The driver is in police custody, according to the police department.

Thomasville Police Department announced just before noon Wednesday that the Walmart was closed because of a traffic crash and to avoid the area.

The Georgia State Patrol confirmed Wednesday afternoon to WTXL ABC 27 that a person has died after a vehicle crashed into the store.

Georgia State Patrol, Thomas County Emergency Medical Services, Thomasville police and fire departments are at the scene.

“We’re heartbroken to learn what has happened, and our sympathies go out to everyone affected. We’ll continue working closely with local law enforcement as they investigate this incident,” a spokesperson for Walmart told ABC 27 Wednesday in a statement.