CHESAPEAKE, Va., Nov 23 (Reuters) – A Walmart employee killed six people and injured several others before fatally shooting himself at a store in Chesapeake, Virginia, authorities said on Wednesday, in the latest episode of gun violence in the United States .
The shooter, who has not been identified, used a pistol in the shooting late Tuesday, wounding at least four people in addition to the deaths, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a news conference.
Coming on the heels of the killing of five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub on Saturday, the latest massacre has prompted another round of criticism from public officials and calls from activists for stricter gun control.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the shooting a “horrific and senseless act of violence,” voting no federal resources needed to help the investigation.
“There are now 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 need to do more.”
In addition to seven people declared dead, including the shooter, four people were being treated at area hospitals, Solesky said.
Employees told the media that the shooter was the manager of the Walmart Supercenter located just off Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people south of Norfolk.
“I looked up and my manager opened the door and opened fire,” said Briana Tyler, according to ABC News.
“The Battlefield Walmart got shot right up by one of my managers. He killed a few people. By the grace of God I made it out,” another employee, Kevin Harper, told CBS.
Tuesday’s bloodshed marked the latest spasm of gun violence in the United States, where an average of two mass shootings — defined as an incident that kills or injures four or more people — occurs every day, according to data from the GunViolenceArchive. org.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, already facing calls to scale back policies to address gun violence in the wake of the University of Virginia killings, said he offered local law enforcement assistance in his investigation.
“Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities,” Youngkin wrote on Twitter.
This is not the first mass shooting at Walmart, which has thousands of stores across the United States.
At a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, 23 people were killed in a mass shooting near the US-Mexico border in an act described as domestic terrorism by law enforcement. It was also the deadliest attack on the Hispanic community in modern times. Patrick Wood Crusius, who was 21 at the time, from Allen, Texas, was arrested in the shooting and left behind a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes.
Walmart said in a statement Wednesday that it was “disturbed” by the violence at the Chesapeake store and was working closely with law enforcement.
Reporting by Rich McKay, Bharat Govind Gautam, Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Shubham Kalia; Additional reporting by Juby Babu; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Nick Macfie, Gareth Jones and Mark Porter
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