A disgruntled employee opened fire inside the Walmart where he worked in Chesapeake, Virginia, late Tuesday, killing six people and injuring several others, law enforcement officials told NBC News. The shooter is also dead.
Officers responded to reports of a shooting at Walmart on Sam’s Circle around 10:15 p.m. and found "multiple fatalities and multiple injured parties," Chesapeake police officer Leo Kosinski said in a news conference.
The assailant was also found dead, but Kosinski told reporters he couldn’t say how the shooter died but that he didn’t believe police fired shots.
Police and a senior law enforcement official confirmed to NBC News that the shooter was a Walmart employee.
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Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, told NBC affiliate WAVY-TV that five patients were being treated at Norfolk General Hospital, the area's closest Level 1 trauma center. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our city,” Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted on the city's Twitter account. “Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news.”
Authorities said the Walmart was open to the public at the time. The shooting came two days before Thanksgiving as customers were doing last-minute shopping during a busy holiday week.
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"It’s sad. We’re a couple of days before the Thanksgiving holiday," Kosinski said. "It’s just a bad time all around, just for everybody involved. This is horrible.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted Wednesday morning, that he is "sickened by reports of yet 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 in a Walmart in my district."
Walmart's official Twitter account also posted a statement Wednesday morning, saying: "We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. We’re praying for those impacted, the community, and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates."
The Virginia shooting comes three days after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. That shooter was arrested after patrons at the club tackled and beat the shooter. The shootings come in a year when the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Both the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive and FBI are working with Chesapeake police in the investigation. The store is now safe but will likely remain closed for several days during the investigation, authorities added.
Chesapeake is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Norfolk.
Source: The Gun Violence Archive