A Walmart employee shot and killed six people before turning the gun on himself at a store packed with Thanksgiving shoppers, police said Wednesday, in the nation’s second mass shooting in four days.
Police Chief Mark Solesky said four other people were hospitalized in unknown condition after Tuesday night’s raid at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Solesky told a news conference that the gunman was believed to have died of a “self-inflicted gunshot wound” and that a motive for the latest attack in America’s gun violence crisis was not immediately known.
The attack, which occurred two days before Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on Nov. 24 this year, followed a gun attack at an LGBTQ club in Colorado over the weekend that left five people dead.
It was also the second mass shooting in Virginia this month: Three students who played on the University of Virginia football team were killed by a classmate on Nov. 13 after a field trip.
Emergency calls were first made after 10pm on Tuesday (0300 GMT Wednesday) while the store was still open.
Officers arrived within two minutes and entered the Walmart two minutes later, Solesky said.
US media reported that the gunman opened fire in a room where workers were taking a meal break, but the police chief could not confirm this.
Hours later, news footage showed a large police presence around the Walmart, located about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of the US capital, Washington.
Officers and investigators are sweeping the store and securing the area, Chesapeake Police Officer Leo Kosinski said.
Walmart, the largest US retailer, issued a statement early Wednesday: “We are shocked by this tragic event.”
The company added, “We are praying for those affected, the community and our partners. We are working closely with law enforcement and are focused on supporting our colleagues.”
Virginia Sen. Louise Lucas, who represents Chesapeake, said she was “heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting happened in my district.”
“I will not rest until we find solutions to end this epidemic of gun violence that has claimed so many lives in our country,” he said on Twitter.
Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia tweeted: “Sadly, as families gather for Thanksgiving, our community suffers yet another senseless act of gun violence.”
The incident comes three nights after a gunman opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring at least 18 others.
Authorities said the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, used a long rifle at the club where they were celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who have been victims of violent attacks.
Gun violence is occurring at an alarming rate in the United States, with more than 600 mass shootings expected by 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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