Chesapeake Walmart shooting: The gunman who killed 6 people was an employee, police say



CNN

The gunman who killed six people at a Walmart in Virginia on Tuesday night was a store employee, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Soleski said Wednesday.

Police believe the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Solesky said. However, his identity has not been disclosed as his relatives have not been informed.

The motive for the massacre remains a mystery.

At least four people remain in hospital, the police chief said. Solesky said that he did not know the condition of the patients.

Chesapeake police spokesman Leo Kosinski told CNN earlier that investigators swept the store Wednesday night, looking for victims or people hiding.

Investigators say the shooter opened fire on other employees in the break room, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Officers responded to the Walmart around 10:12 p.m.—an hour before closing time.

The shooting, which occurred two days before Thanksgiving as shoppers were doing last-minute shopping, is yet another example of gun violence in places traditionally considered safe in American life, from schools to stores and even hospitals.

At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, 170 miles west of Chesapeake, a 22-year-old student opened fire on fellow students this month, killing three of them on a bus returning to campus from a trip to Washington. DC.

Last weekend, a 22-year-old gunman shot and killed five people and injured 19 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, authorities said.

Police captured the scene of a shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s shooting comes as there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The archive and CNN believe it was a mass shooting that left at least four people dead or injured, not including the shooter.

Joetta Jeffery told CNN that her mother, Betsy Umphlett, was sending messages about someone inside the store firing shots at the time of the shooting.

“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery told CNN. “I was talking to him about buying a turkey for Thanksgiving, and then this text came.”

Jeffery said his mother was unharmed but in shock and they were reunited.

Chesapeake City officials asked people to stay away from the store during the investigation.

“Our first responders are well trained and ready to respond; Please give them space to do so,” the city tweeted.

A merger center has been established at the Chesapeake Convention Center, city officials said. They ask that only relatives and emergency contacts of people who were in the store visit the center.

In a statement, Walmart said it was shocked by the tragedy at one of its stores.

“We are praying for the victims, the community and our partners. We are closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies and focus on supporting our partners,” the company said in a statement.

The Washington office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting local police in the investigation, the bureau said on Twitter.

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