Chesapeake, VA – A gunman murdered six people and wounded at least four more during a shooting rampage inside a Walmart store in Virginia on Tuesday night.
The attack occurred at the big box store located just off of Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake shortly after 10 p.m. on Nov. 22, WAVY reported.
Chesapeake Police Department (CPD) Chief Mark Solesky said during a press conference on Wednesday morning that the first 911 call about the shooting came in to authorities at 10:12 p.m.
Chief Solesky said officers “responded immediately” and were on-scene at the mass shooting within two minutes of receiving that initial call.
It was unclear how many shoppers were inside the store when the shooting occurred, but the attack took place as many people were preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
The chief told reporters that the Walmart was open when the gunman opened fire.
A witness who works at the Walmart store told WAVY the shooter was a manager at the business and that the attack occurred as 14 workers were sitting in a meeting room waiting for instructions about their duties for the day.
The witness said she heard the gunman laughing as he opened fire, WAVY reported.
She also alleged that the shooter was targeting other store managers.
Officers entered the store at 10:16 p.m. and found the gunman dead from what was believed to have been a “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to the police chief.
Chief Solesky said he believed the suspect was already deceased when police located him.
A total of six victims have been pronounced dead.
Four other victims remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds at various medical centers on Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Their conditions were not immediately released.
The chief said he was not able to provide a range of ages for the victims.
Chief Solesky said said that the suspect’s name and age were not immediately released because officers were still working to track down his next-of-kin.
The police chief confirmed the gunman was a male Walmart employee, but would not specify if he worked in a management position.
🚨#BREAKING: A Walmart manager has shot multiple employees ⁰
📌#Chesapeake l #VA ⁰
Police are to responding to multiple fatalities and injuries inside a Walmart superstore in VA with officials saying the Manager at Walmart Started to open fire shooting Multiple employees inside pic.twitter.com/JgnCleOvz3
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) November 23, 2022
It is also unclear whether the victims were employees, customers, or a combination of both.
Chief Solesky said said it was not immediately known if the victims were specifically targeted or if they were shot at random.
He said investigators had determined the shooter used a pistol in the attack.
Chief Solesky said it did not appear that a security guard was working at the store at the time of the shooting.
Police also conducted a search at the gunman’s home overnight, according to Chief Solesky.
— Michelle Wolf (@MichelleWolfTV) November 23, 2022
Debra Hazlett, the sister of one of the victims who remained hospitalized Wednesday morning, said that her brother has worked at the store for approximately 20 years, WAVY reported.
You can see the Level 1 Trauma response at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. A spokesperson confirms 5 patients from the Chesapeake Walmart shooting are inside.
— Emily Harrison (@EmilyHarrisonTV) November 23, 2022
Hazlett said her brother told her he had only been at work for about 10 minutes when the gunman opened fire.
Chief Solesky said the investigation remains ongoing and that his is grateful for the assistance of local, state, and federal agencies that have been helping the CPD.
Walmart released a statement about the deadly mass shooting early Wednesday morning, WAVY reported.
“We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store,” the business said. “We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West also released a statement.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that too place last night in our City,” West wrote. “My prayers are with all those affected – the victims their family, their friends, and their coworkers.”
“I am grateful for the quick actions take by our first responders who rushed to the scene,” the mayor continued. “Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news. Together, we will support each other throughout this time. Please keep up in your prayers.”
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