RENO, Nev.--A gunman who police said was about to be fired was holed up Friday at the Walmart store where he worked after three co-workers were shot in a possible retaliation attack, police said.

Heavily armed officers entered the building about four hours after the gunman arrived about 8:30 a.m. and wounded his fellow employees, including a store manager, Reno Deputy Police Chief Mike Whan said.

The gunman was identified as John Dennis Gillane, 45, of Reno, who appeared to have a handgun, Reno police Lt. Mohammad Rafqat said.

Police negotiators had established contact with Gillane by telephone and were trying to persuade him to surrender.

At least nine officers with rifles entered the store shortly after 12:30 p.m.

'We are trying to talk him out,' Whan said. 'It's up to him how much longer this lasts. There is no reason for us to rush it. We want to avoid a confrontation.'

Whan said it was his understanding Gillane was about to be fired from the store. Police had not determined a motive for the attack but suspected it was related to the termination.

'He's not admitting that right now, but we can assume that,' Whan said.

One of the victims was critically wounded, but 'the prognosis is good for all of them,' said Dan Fogleman, a spokesman for Wal-mart Stores Inc. He provided no further details.

Police originally described all the injuries as non-life threatening but later said they were not sure that was the case.

One victim was treated and released, Rafqat said. Another was in critical but stable condition, and the third was in serious condition.

Employees were placed on a bus in the parking lot of a sporting goods store next to the Walmart.

Washoe County deputies, Sparks police and the FBI joined Reno police in sweeping the store to be sure there were no hostages.

Jack McDonald, 64, of Reno said he works as a greeter at the store but was not there during the shooting.

'There are some strange people who work here, but I can't think of one who would be a vicious enough person to do something like this,' McDonald said. 'This has to be a personal thing.'

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