Chesapeake, Virginia – Flags were flying across Virginia at half-staff on Wednesday hours after a store manager opened fire at a Walmart in Chesapeake, killing six people, as a wave of deadly gun violence hit the country. was continuing
Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Soleski said Wednesday that the first 911 call came in at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday and the first officers arrived two minutes later. Police spokesman Leo Kosinski said several people were injured or hiding in the store and that rescue and tactical teams provided “life-saving measures”.
Soleski said the assailant was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a handgun was recovered from the scene. The chief said the attacker’s home was being searched but his identity was not being revealed until the family was informed.
At least four people have been hospitalised, officials said. His terms were not immediately available.
“You hope a day like this never comes, but we train for it, we practice, we talk about it, we learn our lessons,” City manager Chris Price said at the briefing. “You hope those lessons never have to be put to use.”
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‘They have literally just started shooting’
employee Briana Tyler told ABC The employees were gathered in the store’s break room at the start of a shift on “Good Morning America” when the man, a manager, walked in and began firing without saying a word.
“He literally started shooting all over the break room,” she said. “And I saw several people fall to the floor, whether they were trying to duck for cover or they were hit. … He looked straight at me but luckily he was like an inch or two away from me.” Missed the head.”
Employee Jessie Wilczewski told WAVY-TV she was hiding under a table when the shooter pointed his gun at her — then told her to go home.
“It didn’t seem real until you … could feel the ‘pow-pow-pow,’ you could feel it,” Wilczewski said. “I couldn’t hear it at first because I think it was so loud, I could feel it.”
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President Joe Biden issued a statement thanking first responders and pledging support and assistance. He referenced a gun reform law passed earlier this year and urged “big action” to stop gun violence.
“Due to yet another horrific and senseless act of violence, there are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” the statement said. “There are now more families dealing with the worst kind of loss and pain imaginable.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was assisting with the investigation. Glenn Youngkin, who ordered flags to fly at half-staff on Sunday, said he was making state resources available.
“Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning,” he said. “Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities.”
Mayor Rick W. West also commended the efforts of first responders, in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence late last night in our city,” West tweeted. “Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken by this news.”
Concern and rumors spread in the hours following the attack. At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the city posted a notice on Twitter warning that “rumors of an active shooter at Target in Chesapeake are untrue. Please help us control the rumors by only sharing information from this account.”
Mary Gleason, 73, a housewife from nearby Great Bridge, was shopping in the area. Gleason, who said she sometimes stops at Walmart, heard about the shooting on the news.
“I thought I’d stop by and offer condolences, I guess you could say,” Gleason said.
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Chesapeake shooting latest in wave of deadly attacks
The shooting in Chesapeake is the latest incident to shake the nation days after A massacre at a well-known LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where five people were killed.
Earlier this month, three University of Virginia football players were killed and two others were hospitalized after a campus shooting — the same day four University of Idaho students were found dead with multiple stab wounds.
USA Today, a database run by The Associated Press and Northeastern University that tracks mass killings since 2006, counts 40 mass killings so far this year, second only to 45 for all of 2019 . The database defines mass murder as at least four people. Killed, not including the murderer.
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Family, friends want word about loved ones in Walmart shooting
In Chesapeake, police tweeted that a family reunion site has been set up at the Chesapeake Convention Center. Among those gathered outside early Wednesday was Camille Buggs, a former Walmart employee who told The Virginian-Pilot hoped to learn the fate of some of her former co-workers who were unable to reach her after the shooting.
“You always say you don’t think this will happen in your city, in your neighborhood, in your store, in your favorite store,” Buggs, 58, of Chesapeake, told the outlet. “That’s the thing that surprised me.”
Dazed employees also gathered at a nearby Sam’s Club, WAVY-TV reports, where attendance was up. Police say that all the employees have been challaned.
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A Walmart in El Paso, Texas, was the scene of one of the nation’s bloodiest attacks in 2019, when a gunman police say targeted Mexicans, killing 22 people.
Walmart released a statement on Twitter Early Wednesday: “We are shocked by this tragic incident at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. We are praying for those affected, the community, and our partners. We are working closely with law enforcement, and we support our partners.” focusing on doing.”
Sen. Mark Warner tweeted that he was “horrified by the news of another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.”
State Sen. Louis Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment, tweeting that he was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting occurred at a Walmart in my district.”
Chesapeake is a city of about 250,000 people, 100 miles southeast of Richmond. The city is located on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, just a few miles from Virginia Beach beach and downtown Norfolk.
The city says on its website, “Chesapeake offers an endless array of outdoor activities, terrific shopping, exceptional dining, and beautiful wildlife.” “Here you’ll find an impressively diverse collection of geographies that include urban delights, rural masterpieces, and an endless menu of outdoor options and indoor fun.”
Contributing: Paul Bibeau, Charles Ventura, USA Today; The Associated Press