6 people and the shooter are dead in a shooting at a Walmart in Virginia

Updated November 23, 2022 at 9:53 am ET

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A gunman opened fire at a Walmart Supercenter in Virginia late Tuesday, killing six people and hospitalizing four. The second high-profile mass murder within a few days. Police confirmed the attacker is also dead, which they believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In a news conference early Wednesday, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said the gunman’s identity would be kept secret until his next of kin were notified, but said he was an employee of the store.

He was found dead at the scene of the crime.

Police would not comment on whether the victims were shoppers, employees, or both. Police stressed the investigation could take days and said they could not say if the gunman was aiming at anyone.

It’s also unclear how many people were in the store at the time of the shooting, during the typically popular pre-Thanksgiving shopping season.

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are working at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia on Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are working at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia on Wednesday.

The shooting came three days after a person opened fire at a Colorado gay nightclub, killing five and injuring 17. Last week, a former college football player shot dead three of his teammates on the University of Virginia campus.

And since 2019, Americans have witnessed at least five fatal supermarket shootings, including one that killed 10 shoppers, most of them black, at a Buffalo supermarket in May.

Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of a 2019 shooting in neighboring Virginia Beach that killed 12 people. Then-Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, then proposed a series of gun reform measures for Virginia, the state home to the NRA.

After a backlash from pro-rights groups, including a high-profile rally in 2020 involving thousands of armed protesters, the measures have met with mixed success. New rules on background checks and limits on the number of firearms a person can buy went into effect last year.

Tuesday’s shooter is believed to have carried a single handgun and acted alone, Solenksy said.

Police say they arrived at the scene at 10:14 p.m. ET Monday, two minutes after the first 911 call, and had officially vacated the store by 11:20 p.m

“The Chesapeake Police Task Force executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home,” Solenksy added. “With the help of the Virginia State Police, we cleared the house. We have reason to believe there is no danger to the public at this time.”

In this frame from video, Virginia police respond to the scene of a fatal shooting at a Walmart on Tuesday evening, November 22, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

In this frame from video, Virginia police respond to the scene of a deadly shooting at a Walmart Tuesday night in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Four patients from the Walmart are being treated at Norfolk General Hospital, but their conditions were not immediately available, authorities said. (A spokesman for the hospital previously said they are treating five patients; it’s unclear if any have been discharged.)

Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked by this tragic event.”

Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia echoed that sentiment, saying in a tweet that “heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities” and that he is in touch with law enforcement officials.

Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said in a statement he was “devastated by the senseless act of violence” and described his city as a “close-knit community.”

Chesapeake is a city of about a quarter million people on the southern coast of Virginia.

Sarah McCammon reported from Chesapeake; Emily Olson reported from Washington, DC

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