A Walmart employee opened fire at a store in Virginia, killing six, police said Wednesday, in the country’s second high-profile mass murder in as few days. The assailant also committed suicide.
The store in Chesapeake was busy just before the shooting Tuesday night with people stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, a shopper said. a local television station.
There was no clear motive for the shooting, which also left four people in the hospital, Police Chief Mark G. Solesky said. The gunman’s home was searched, but Solesky would not give his name, saying only that he was a Walmart employee, because his family had not been notified.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place last night in our city,” Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted on the city’s Twitter account Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a very close community and we are all shocked by this news.”
joetta jeffery told CNN that he received text messages from his mother who was inside the store when the shots were fired. Her mother, Betsy Umphlett, was not injured.
“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery said. “I had just talked to her about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving, then this text came through.”
A database managed by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University that track every mass murder In America, since 2006, this year’s shows have been especially bad. The United States has had 40 mass murders so far this year, second only to the 45 that occurred in all of 2019. The database defines a mass murder as at least four people killed, not including the killer.
The attack at the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and injuring 17. Earlier in the year, the country was rocked by the death of 21 when a gunman broke into an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunslinger says the police he was targeting the mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people.
The shooting appeared to stop when police arrived at the store in Chesapeake, Officer Leo Kosinski said. The city is the second largest in Virginia and is adjacent to the coastal communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said in a text message that five Walmart patients were being treated at Norfolk General Hospital. Their terms were not immediately available.
A man was seen crying at a hospital after learning his brother had died, and others screamed as they left a conference center set up as a family reunification center. The Virginian-Pilot reported.
Camille Buggs, a former Walmart employee, told the newspaper that she went to the conference center looking for information about her former co-workers.
“You always say you don’t think it would happen in your town, in your neighborhood, in your store, in your favorite store, and that’s what amazes me,” said Buggs, 58, of Chesapeake.
Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked by this tragic event.”
US Senator Mark Warner said in a tweet that he was “disgusted by reports of another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.”
State Sen. Louise Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment, tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place at a Walmart in my district.”
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