A Virginia Walmart supervisor turned the store’s breakroom into a bloodbath Tuesday night, gunning down six people, including employees, before killing himself even as shoppers were stocking up on last-minute Thanksgiving Day provisions.
The gunman, who was identified by officials as a night supervisor and 12-year employee of the Chesapeake store, was dead when police arrived at approximately 10:14 p.m. It was not clear if he had killed himself or if he had been neutralized by workers.
“We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store,” the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said in a statement. “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.”
It was not immediately known if all the victims were store employees, what the gunman’s motive was, or what type of handgun he used. The body of one victim was found outside the store. At least five victims were being treated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our City,” Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said in a statement. “My prayers are with all those affected — the victims, their family, their friends, and their coworkers. I am grateful for the quick actions taken by our first responders who rushed to the scene. Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news.”
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who just last week mourned victims of a mass shooting on the campus of University of Virginia, issued a statement early Wednesday decrying the horrific incident.
“Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning,” Youngkin tweeted. “I remain in contact with law enforcement officials throughout this morning and have mad available any resources as this investigation move forward. Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities.”
A Walmart employee gave reporters at the scene a chilling account of the tragedy and said that the killer was a store supervisor.
“It was the manager,” the employee reportedly said. “One of the managers. He blew his brains out and everything.
“He killed the girl in there and everything,” the employee continued. “He came in and started spraying. I’m sorry for the victims. I just left the break room, the manager came in there and started capping people up in there, started shooting.”
A witness who spoke to FOX3 identified the gunman by name. The Daily Wire does not name mass shooters as part of a policy to deprive them of the notoriety they often crave.
“[He] snapped, walked out and shot a lady in her head then shot another man in his head, both dead,” the witness said. “Then shot my homeboy dead, then shot himself in the head.”
Chesapeake police, who confirmed seven deaths, including the gunman, have a wee-hours update from the crime scene early Wednesday. Police spokesman Leo Kosinski said police were still searching the building.
“As police arrived on scene, they realized it was an active shooter situation and we had to change our tactics,” he said.