A gunman who allegedly killed six victims in a mass shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, before turning a gun on himself has been identified as a store employee.
The suspect, whose name has not been released, is accused of opening fire on colleagues in the break room of a store on Sam’s Circle around 10pm on Tuesday night.
Six victims died in the attack before the attacker shot himself and committed suicide, police said.
Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the suspect is a store employee but will not reveal his identity because his next of kin have not yet been notified.
The identities of the victims have also not been released at this time and no motive for the attack has been given.
Kevin Harper, a man who identified himself as a store employee, posted a live feed on Facebook from outside the store on Tuesday night where he claimed he had just left the break room when “one of the managers” walked in “and had just started spraying.”
In the video, he claimed he nearly missed the shooter because he had just left the break room when the shooting broke out.
“I just got out of the break room, the manager went in there, he started shooting people there, he started shooting, bro. The manager came in, started throwing, man. As soon as I left the break room, he walked in there, man… it’s fucking wild,” he says in the video.
Mr Harper claims it was “one of the managers” and that other “associates” were killed in the attack.
“But it’s crazy, it was a manager, one of the managers,” he says.
“They blew people’s brains out and everything… He came in and just started spraying and fucking,” he adds.
“Unfortunately, we lost some of our associates, I don’t know how many.”
Police were called to the store around 10:12 p.m. Tuesday night following reports of a shooting.
When officers arrived, they found many people dead and injured.
At a press conference in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Leo Kosinski, the Chesapeake Police Department’s public information officer, said the suspect was dead and that the shooting was not believed to have taken place involving the officer.
Initially, police said at least 10 people had died. Around 5 a.m. local time, Chesapeake City officials confirmed that six victims and the bomber were killed in the attack.
One of the surviving victims was identified by his family as a longtime Walmart employee who was shot and killed just minutes into his shift.
The victim, identified as a man in his 50s who had worked at the store for about 20 years, reported for his shift at 10 a.m., his sister Deborah told the local WAVY outlet.
Deborah said she spoke to her brother during a Zoom family call as he was arriving at the store – as part of Thanksgiving tradition.
She then received a call from him at around 10:18 pm telling her that he had been shot and that he was being treated by the police at the scene.
Multiple law enforcement agencies joined the investigation, including the Virginia Beach Police, the Chesapeake Police Department, and the Washington, D.C., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
It comes a few days before Thanksgiving, when shoppers are likely stocking up on goods ahead of the holiday season.
Walmart released a statement Wednesday saying it was “shocked” by the event at one of their stores.
“We are praying for those affected, the community and our associates,” the company said.
“We work closely with law enforcement and are focused on supporting our associates.”
Several Virginia lawmakers also issued statements condemning the violence.
Governor Glenn Youngkin condemned what he described as a “shameful act of violence” in a statement released Wednesday morning.
“Our hearts break with the Chesapeake community this morning,” he said.
“I have been in contact with law enforcement officials throughout the morning and have made all resources available as the investigation progresses. Shameful acts of violence have no place in our communities.”
Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas said she was “completely devastated” that there was a mass shooting in her Chesapeake district.
“I will not rest until we find solutions to end this epidemic of gun violence in our country that has claimed so many lives,” she added.
Senator Mark Warner said he was “disgusted” by reports of the mass shooting and would “monitor the situation closely.”
“Disgusted by reports of another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake,” Warner wrote in a tweet. “In the meantime, I urge all members of the community to heed local law enforcement advice and stay away from the scene.”
The massacre is just the latest mass shooting to rock America in recent weeks, after a gunman opened fire at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night.
Five people were killed and 17 injured when suspected gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs Saturday night.
The massacre came to an end when the club’s heroic regulars knocked the shooter to the ground and detained him until the police arrived.
The five victims killed in this attack were Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Vance.
This followed another mass shooting in Virginia on November 13, when three University of Virginia football stars were shot and killed as they returned to campus from a field trip.
College friend and former soccer player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, allegedly opened fire on the bus.
Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry, and Devin Chandler were killed in the attack, and two others were injured but survived.
Mr. Jones was arrested the next day and charged with murder and other charges.