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Jan 24, 2011 9:11 AM by CNN

Woman killed outside Washington Walmart linked to shooting suspect

PORT ORCHARD, WA - Authorities say they believe a young female who died after a shootout outside a Walmart store was connected to the shooting suspect.

The female -- thought to be a teenager --- was one of two people killed in the Sunday afternoon shooting in Port Orchard, Washington.

"We don't think she was just a store patron unrelated to the incident. We believe she was associated with the suspect, but we have not been able establish the relationship yet," said Kitsap County Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson. The female remained unidentified.

Two sheriff's deputies who were injured in the shooting were recovering from non-life-threatening injuries Sunday night. The sheriff's office said in a statement Monday that both were in satisfactory condition at a hospital.

"They both are going to live," Wilson said.

Three sheriff's deputies responded to the Walmart store Sunday after getting a call about a suspicious person "from a bystander who had concerns about a person inside the store," Wilson said. Officers responded about 3 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff's office said.

The deputies approached one man outside the store's south entrance, but the man ran from the scene.

"(The deputies) called to him and said, 'Hey, we need to talk to you,'" Wilson said. "He turned around and shot at them."

The Monday statement said, "For reasons not yet known, the suspect turned and fired multiple shots at the two pursuing deputies with a semi-automatic handgun. Both deputies were struck by the suspect's bullets and unable to return gunfire."

However, a third sheriff's deputy approached from behind the store, rounded the corner and shot the suspect, the statement said.

The man was shot and later pronounced dead in the Walmart parking lot. Authorities Monday did not release his name, age or other details about him, saying they were in the process of confirming his identity and notifying his relatives.

The female, who was fatally wounded, "was in close proximity to the gunman at the time of the shootings," the statement said. "Based on witness statements and other evidence, investigators believe that the gunman and the young woman were together and knew either other. However, their exact relationship has not yet been established. Also unclear is how the girl was struck by gunfire."

She was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead, authorities said. The process of identifying her was under way Monday as well.

Wilson described the situation as "somewhat chaotic" but "stabilized."

"There is no danger to the community at this point," he said. "We think that all persons (who were) involved ... have been accounted for."

The Washington State Police were taking over as the lead investigative agency in the case, and the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office requested assistance from the FBI.

The female sheriff's deputy who shot the suspect was placed on administrative assignment -- a routine step in officer-involved shootings -- pending an investigation.

The incident occurred near one of the retail giant's stores in Port Orchard, a town just west of Parkwood. Located on Sinclair Inlet, Port Orchard is about 30 miles north-northwest of Tacoma and across Puget Sound from Seattle.

The store was locked down for about 20 minutes immediately after the shooting with and had about 100 people inside, Walmart customer Mike Lambert told CNN affiliate KIRO.

-- CNN's Rick Martin and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.

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