A Virginia Walmart employee opened fire in the break room; 6 dead

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A Virginia Walmart employee opened fire in the break room; 6 dead
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Crime

The United States has now recorded 40 mass murders so far this year, following the 45 that occurred for the whole of 2019.

Law enforcement works at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Va. The store was busy just before the Tuesday night shooting with people stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A Walmart official opened fire on co-workers gathered in the break room of a Virginia store, a witness said Wednesday. Six people have died in the country’s second high-profile mass shooting in days.

The shooter, who apparently took his own life, was dead when police found him, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark G. Solesky said. There was no clear motive for the shooting, which also left four people in hospital.

The store was busy just before Tuesday night’s attack, with people stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, a shopper told a local TV station.

Employee Briana Tyler said workers gathered in the store’s break room as they usually do before their shifts.

“I looked up and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” she told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” adding that “several people” fell to the ground.

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

Solesky confirmed that the shooter, who used a pistol, was a Walmart employee but did not give his name because his family was not informed. He could not confirm whether the victims were all employees.

“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 to the city’s Twitter account on Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken by this news.”

A database maintained by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every massacre in America since 2006 shows that this year has been particularly bad. The United States has now recorded 40 massacres this year, following the 45 that occurred for all of 2019. The database defines a massacre as at least four people killed, not including the killer.

A Virginia Walmart Employee Opened Fire In The Break Room; 6 Dead
Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price pauses after speaking to reporters following a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Va. Police said a gunman opened fire in the store, killing several people. It was the country’s second high-profile mass murder in a matter of days. – AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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

Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 22. people.

A 911 call about the shooting in Chesapeake, which is Virginia’s second-largest city and sits next to the seaside communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, came in just after 10 p.m. The store was open at the time, but Solesky didn’t know how many shoppers were inside or if the shooter was working.

When asked if there was a security guard present, the police chief replied that he did not know.

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

“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery said. “I was just talking to him about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving, then this text came up.”

A man was seen crying in 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.

A Virginia Walmart Employee Opened Fire In The Break Room; 6 Dead
A law enforcement investigator wears a protective blanket as he works at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Va. – AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Camille Buggs, a former Walmart employee, told the newspaper that she went to the conference center to get information about her former colleagues.

“You always say you don’t think this 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.”

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

State Senator Louise Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment, tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that the last mass shooting in America took place at a Walmart in my district.”

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