Police Chief: Suspect who killed 6 people at Walmart in Virginia was a store employee

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A Walmart executive opened fire on colleagues who had gathered in the cafeteria of a store in Virginia, a witness said Wednesday. Six people were killed in the country’s second high-profile mass murder in a handful of days.

The shooter also killed himself, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark G. Solesky said. There was no clear motive for the shooting, as a result of which four people also ended up in hospital.

The store was busy Tuesday night just before the shooting with people stocking up for the Thanksgiving holiday, a customer told a local TV station.

Employee Briana Tyler told TUSEN’s “Good Morning America” ​​that workers had gathered in the store’s break room as part of their normal pre-shift routine.

“I looked up and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” she said, adding that “several people” fell to the floor.

“He didn’t say a word, he didn’t say anything at all,” she said.

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The shooter’s home was searched. Solesky confirmed he was a Walmart employee, but did not give his name because his family had not been notified.

“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that occurred late last night in our city,” Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted to the city’s Twitter account on Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a close-knit community and we are all shocked by this news.”

A database maintained by The The US Express News, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every mass murder in America since 2006 shows that this year was particularly bad. The US 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 deaths, not counting the killer.

The attack on the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a Colorado gay nightclub, killing five people and injuring 17. Earlier this year, the country was rocked by the death of 21 when a gunman stormed a primary school in Uvalde. , Texas.

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Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who police said was aiming at Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people.

The shooting apparently stopped when police arrived at the Chesapeake store, Officer Leo Kosinski said. The city is Virginia’s second largest city and is adjacent to the coastal communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Joetta Jeffery told TUSEN she received text messages from her mother who was in the store when the shots were fired. Her mother, Betsy Umphlett, was not injured.

“I’m crying, I’m trembling,” Jeffery said. “I was just talking to her about buying turkey for Thanksgiving, then this text came in.”

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A man was seen crying in a hospital after learning his brother was dead, and others screamed as they left a conference center set up as a family reunion center, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Camille Buggs, a former Walmart employee, told the newspaper she went to the conference center to seek information on her former colleagues.

“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 shocked me,” said Buggs, 58, of Chesapeake.

Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked by this tragic event.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner said in a tweet that he had been “sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.”

Secretary of State Louise Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment, tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that the last mass shooting in America happened at a Walmart in my county.

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