A gunman opened fire inside a grocery store in Collierville, Tenn., On Thursday, killing one and injuring at least 12 people before shooting and committing suicide, authorities said.
Authorities said they received a report of a 1:30 p.m. shooting at a Kroger store in Collierville, about 30 miles east of Memphis.
The first police car arrived at 1:34 p.m., and officers flooded the area and drove from alley to alley and room to room, assisting injured victims and escorting employees from their hiding places. Some had been hiding in freezers and locked offices, Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said at a press conference.
He said the assailant died and was allegedly killed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooter’s vehicle was still in the parking lot, he said.
Chief Lane declined to say whether the assailant had been an employee of the store, saying it was part of the investigation. He said the injuries to the victims were “very serious”.
The shooting was “the most horrific event to have happened in the history of Collierville,” he said.
Glenda McDonald, a Kroger employee, told Fox 13, a local television station, that she was inside the store when she heard a gunshot that appeared to be coming from the deli. She said she ran through the front door.
“Several people were shot – some customers and employees,” she told the station, adding that she did not know what the assailant looked like. “The only thing I heard was the gunshots.”
Brignetta Dickerson, who said she worked at the Kroger for 32 years, told local reporters she was at a cash register when she heard gunshots.
“He started to detonate this weapon,” she told WREG-TV. “It was a bit like bursting a balloon. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap – just like that.”
She said she played dead and saw an employee shot in the head. He was still able to speak, she said.
“This here is not going to stop me from working,” she said. “I’ll work on it.”
Regional One Health, a hospital in Memphis, had received nine patients, according to a spokesperson. Four were in critical condition and five were in “non-critical condition,” she said.
Kroger said in a statement he was “deeply saddened by the incident”.
“The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time,” Kroger said in a statement.
The company added that it is cooperating with local law enforcement authorities.
“The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have launched consulting services for our associates,” Kroger said.
Memphis Police Department noted his officers were at the scene of the shooting and “helping to secure the perimeter and the scene”.
Local news stations showed a line of ambulances in the store with their lights flashing, as well as a group of employees gathered in the parking lot with police officers.
Alyssa Lukpat contributed reporting.
Thursday’s Collierville, Tennessee shooting came six months after a man armed with a military-style semi-automatic rifle and pistol opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo. , killing 10 people, including a policeman. King Soopers is owned by Kroger.
No motive has been publicly explained for this attack.
In October 2018, a white man shot two blacks in a Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Ky., In a racist attack. The man, Gregory Bush, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last year after pleading guilty but suffering from mental disorder to the murders of Vickie Lee Jones and Maurice E. Stallard.
In August, one person was killed and another injured in a shootout in the Kroger parking lot in Sandy Springs, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The newspaper said the shooting was the result of a botched drug deal.