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Gunman in Tennessee grocery store mass shooting was vendor

UPDATE: COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee — The gunman in Thursday's deadly shooting at a western Tennessee grocery store was a third-party vendor for Kroger, Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said during a news conference Friday morning.

Lane declined to provide the gunman's name during the gunman's name during the news conference, saying, "I'm not giving him notoriety in this platform." Officials would provide the gunman's name later, he said.

The gunman was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound following the shooting, police have said.

When the gunman opened fire -- killing one and injuring more than a dozen others -- workers and shoppers desperately scattered, some even taking shelter in freezers and offices, police and witnesses said.

"We were pulling people out of freezers; we were pulling people out of closets," Lane said.

Some "were (down on the ground) pretending to be shot," and an employee who ran to the roof was eventually escorted down, he said.

"They were doing what they had been trained to do: Run, hide, fight," Lane said.

The shooting happened around 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Kroger in Collierville, some 30 miles east of Memphis. It left one woman dead and sent 14 others to hospitals, including 13 with gunshot wounds, authorities said.

The shooter was also found dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lane said. Authorities have not released the names of victims or the shooter, and they have not announced a motive.

The slain woman's family, however, identified her as Olivia King.

"Our family is devastated by this senseless act of violence," King's family said in a written statement to affiliate WHBQ. The asked for prayers "for all families and friends affected by the events today, as well as for God's mercy on the shooter and his family."

This was one of at least 517 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Wes King, Olivia's son, said his mom was shot in the chest. "This type of crime needs to stop being glossed over and sanitized. No one deserves this," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Shootings have happened in at least two other grocery stores this year. In March, a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left 10 people dead. And one person was killed in a supermarket shooting in WestSempstead, New York, in April.

ORIGINAL REPORT: COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee — A gunman attacked a grocery store in an upscale Tennessee suburb on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and wounding 12 others before he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the store, authorities said.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the shooting broke out at a Kroger grocery in his suburban community about 30 miles east of Memphis. He said the gunman shot 13 others and himself, and that 12 of the victims were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries.

One Kroger worker, Brignetta Dickerson, told WREG-TV she was working a cash register when she heard what at first she thought were balloons popping.

“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting,” Dickerson said. “And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach.”

Lane said police received a call about 1:30 p.m. about the shooting and arrived almost immediately, finding multiple people with gunshots when they entered the building.

He said a police SWAT team and other officers went aisle to aisle in the store to find people who sought cover or were in hiding, taking them to safety. He said the shooter, whom he described as male, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“We found people hiding in freezers, in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do: run, hide, fight,” the chief said without elaborating.

The identities of the shooter and the victims were not immediately released. At a news briefing Thursday evening, Lane declined to reveal more about the suspect, citing the ongoing investigation, including search warrants that will be carried out.

“We’re going to carry this thing as far as we can to see and make sure that there’s no else involved,” Lane said, adding that there was “no credible evidence” that there was a second shooter.

The chief also said that, “As far as we know there wasn’t any other incident that led up to this.”

Dickerson, the employee, said her co-worker, who is in his 20s, was shot in the head and said he wanted his mother to be notified.

“I left her a voicemail that he was alert and talking,” Dickerson said, adding that she was still trying to reach her later in the day.

Another employee, Glenda McDonald, described the chaotic scene to WHBQ-TV.

“I was walking back towards the floral department and I heard a gunshot,” she said. “It sounded like it was coming from the deli. And I ran out the front door and they had already shot the front door.”

Lane called it a sad day for his department in his initial briefing with reporters.

“I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said Thursday afternoon.

The suspect’s vehicle was in the store’s parking lot and remained there as part of the investigation, the chief said.

He added that investigators were seeking to piece together how the shooting unfolded, adding, “It’s going to take a little bit before we know what happened.”

“Let’s get through the investigation,” Lane said. “Remember, we’re two hours away from the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”

Collierville is a growing suburb of more than 51,000 people with a median household income of about $114,000, according to U.S. census figures. Set in a rural and historic area, the town square has largely become known for its boutiques and bed and breakfasts.

Earlier this year, Tennessee became the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a state-level background check and training. The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee over objections from some law enforcement groups and gun control advocates concerned the measure would possibly lead to more gun violence.

The Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, issued a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the shooting and was cooperating with law enforcement. The company in 2019 asked its customers not to openly carry guns while visiting its stores.

A Kroger spokesperson said the Collierville store will be closed until further notice.

ABC News

Associated Press




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