Chesapeake: A Walmart employee killed six people and injured several others before fatally shooting himself at a store in Chesapeake, Virginia, authorities said Wednesday in the latest episode of gun violence in the United States.
The shooter, who has not been identified, used a handgun in the shooting late Tuesday, injuring at least four people in addition to the fatalities, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a news conference.
After the killing of five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday, the latest massacre sparked another round of condemnations from officials and calls from activists for tighter gun controls.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the shooting “another horrifying and senseless act of violence” and pledged all federal funds needed to help the investigation.
“There are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” he said in a statement, noting a shooting earlier this month that left three University of Virginia students dead. “We must act more strongly.”
In addition to seven confirmed dead, including the shooter, four people were being treated at area hospitals, Solesky said.
Employees told the media the shooter was an executive at the cavernous Walmart Supercenter just off Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people south of Norfolk.
“I looked up and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” Briana Tyler said, according to ABC News.
“The Battlefield Walmart was just shot by one of my managers. He killed a few people. By the grace of God, I made it out,” another contributor, Kevin Harper, told CBS.
Tuesday’s bloodshed marked the latest outbreak of gun violence in the United States, which has an average of two mass shootings every day – defined as any incident in which four or more people are killed or injured – according to GunViolenceArchive.org.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has already faced increased calls for action to combat gun violence in the wake of the University of Virginia killings, said he has offered local law enforcement assistance in their investigations.
“Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities,” Youngkin wrote on Twitter.
It’s not the first mass shooting at a Walmart that has thousands of stores across the United States.
At a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, 23 people were killed in a mass shooting near the US-Mexico border in August 2019, in what law enforcement has described as domestic terrorism. It was also the deadliest attack on the Hispanic community in modern times. Patrick Wood Crusius, then 21, of Allen, Texas, was arrested in the shooting and left a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes.
Walmart said in a statement Wednesday it was “shocked” by the violence at the Chesapeake store and was working closely with law enforcement.