At least six people were killed in a mass shooting Tuesday night inside a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, and the shooter is also dead, city officials said early Wednesday.
Police earlier said there were multiple fatalities and injuries.
Officers responded to the store less than an hour before closing around 10:12 p.m. and found the victims and evidence of a shooting, Chesapeake Police public information officer Leo Kosinski told VFAB.
Five patients were being treated at Sentara General Hospital in nearby Norfolk, Virginia, a spokesperson for Sentara Healthcare told VFAB affiliate WTKR. An update on their conditions was not immediately available.
“We’re just a couple hours past the initial incident, so everything is very fluid, very new right now,” Kosinski said earlier. A news conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, the city of Chesapeake said on Twitter.
Investigators believe the shooter was an employee or former employee of the store who opened fire on other employees in a break room, a law enforcement source tells VFAB.
It is believed the shooter at some point turned the gun on himself, according to the source.
Kosinski said it’s not believed any law enforcement officers fired shots during the response.
Chesapeake city officials asked people to stay away from the store during the investigation. “Our first responders are well-trained and prepared to respond; please give them space to do so” the city said in a tweet.
“We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store,” Walmart said in a statement. “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,” the statement said.
Joetta Jeffery told VFAB her mother, Betsy Umphlett, sent her texts from inside the store during the shooting, alerting her that someone had opened fire.
“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery told VFAB. “I had just talked to her about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving, then this text came in.”
Jeffery said her mother is uninjured but in shock, and they’ve been reunited.
A reunification center was set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center, city officials said. They are asking that only immediate family and emergency contacts for people who were in the store go to the center.
The Washington, DC, field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is assisting local police in the investigation, the bureau said on Twitter.
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