An employee at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, opened fire on co-workers Tuesday evening, killing six people and wounding four others at the retail store, city Police Chief Mark Soleski said Wednesday morning.
Officers were dispatched to an active threat situation at the Walmart Supercenter at 10:12 p.m. local time, Chesapeake Police spokesman Leo Kosinski told reporters on the scene Tuesday evening. Soleski said officers were on the scene within two minutes, entered the store two minutes later, and within an hour they had cleared the store and located all victims.
The suspect was also found dead and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shooting.
The suspected employee died of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound, Soleski said. He said that a pistol was used for the shooting. According to the police chief, the suspect has not been identified pending notification of his next of kin.
The FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia confirmed that the agency was assisting the Chesapeake Police Department, which was the lead agency in the investigation.
Four additional victims were being treated at area hospitals Wednesday morning, but the nature and extent of their injuries were not clear, Soleski said.
The shooting happened inside the store, Kosincsi said Tuesday evening, though at least one body was found outside. According to Walmart’s website, the store was open to customers at the time of the shooting.
A man who said he was a trader described the scene Cellphone videoCBS News Chief National Affairs and Justice Correspondent Jeff Peggs reports.
“We heard several shots inside … and all went off,” said Jeromy Basham. “There was a guy down there, it’s still in the front.”
Another man said in the video that he was among the Walmart employees inside the store when the shooting began, Peggs reported.
“I literally walked out of the break room, right? And immediately, maybe, not five minutes later” there were gunshots, Kevin Harper said.
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West Released a statement Early Wednesday morning he said he was “devastated by the senseless act of violence” and praised first responders.
West told CBS News that thinking about how to respond to mass shootings is part of the job of city leaders across the country.
“The first feeling was nothing but fear because I knew that here it was, what we had to face and what those poor families were going to face for years to come,” West said.
Chesapeake is located in the coastal Hampton Roads region of southern Virginia, which includes the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Kosincsi said a “reunification site” had been set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center, which the city’s Twitter account said was for “emergency contact with immediate family members or those who were in the building.”
The incident is the second major mass shooting in the US in the past few days. Five people were killed and 17 others injured Early Sunday morning when a suspect opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I’m fed up with the reports of another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake,” Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Mark Warner He tweeted Wednesday morning.
Virginia’s new Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, also weighed in, saying: “Our hearts break with the Chesapeake community this morning,” the tweet added, adding that “despicable acts of violence have no place in our communities.”
Walmart provided a statement saying the company is “shocked by this tragic incident” and is “praying for those affected, the community and our associates.”
The retail giant said it was “working closely with law enforcement and we are focused on supporting our partners.”
Virginia state senator Louis Lucas, a Democrat who represents the Chesapeake region, which includes Chesapeake, said in a tweet that “the latest mass shooting in America at a Walmart in my district is heartbreaking.”
“I will not rest until we find solutions to end this epidemic of gun violence that has taken so many lives in our country,” he said.
“Tragically, just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving, our community is suffering another incident of senseless gun violence,” said U.S. Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia.
According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States this year, resulting in at least 36 deaths.
Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston who has compiled data on shootings in the US over the decades, reported the same figure, which he said made 2022 the record year for such attacks, even before the incident at Walmart in Chesapeake. .
“I’ve been studying mass killings for 40 years, and I’m pretty confident there’s never been a year where we’ve had this many,” Fox said in an article published by Northeastern Monday in the wake of the Colorado shooting. .
Fox noted an “unprecedented surge” since early October, when he said there have been 13 fatal mass shootings.
“That’s an average of two mass shootings a week,” Fox said.
Alex Sundby contributed reporting.