A mass shooting at a Walmart in Virginia on Tuesday night has left multiple fatalities and injuries, police said.
The Chesapeake Police Department confirmed the incident to The Daily Beast at the Walmart store, off Battlefield Boulevard.
In a press conference, Chesapeake public information officer Leo Kosinski said the call to authorities came in at 10:12 p.m. Police responded in “active shooter fashion.”
“We go inside and to make a long story short, over the course of the next 30-45 minutes we were able to find multiple fatalities and multiple injured parties,” Kosinski said.
Police said the shooter acted alone and is believed to be among the dead.
One person was found dead outside the building while the rest of the bodies were inside. “Officers are still on scene right now combing through the building to be sure” that there was only one shooter, cops said.
The shooting was over when cops arrived, with police firing not a single bullet. Police would not identify whether the victims or the shooter were employees. It was also unclear if the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The City of Chesapeake Twitter account pleaded with residents: “Our first responders are well-trained and prepared to respond; please give them space to do so.” In a later message, they posted: “We’re only a few hours into the response, so we don’t have all the answers yet. Chesapeake Police continue their investigation into the active shooter event at Walmart on Sam’s Circle.”
FBI and police were on the scene interviewing employees and people who were in the store. A spokesperson for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital told WAVY that five patients were being treated there.
A man who identified himself as a store worker at the Walmart, Kevin Harper, posted a Facebook Live on Tuesday night after the shooting. He was seen standing outside the store as police cars swarmed around it.
“It’s wild, though, it was the manager, one of the managers,” he said as sirens could be heard blaring behind him. Police would not confirm that detail at the time.
The video follows Harper touching base with other colleagues from the store as they discuss what happened and who made it out alive.
“Blew people’s brains out and everything…,” he was heard saying. “He came in and just started spraying and shit.”
“I’d just left out of the break room, manager come up in there, started capping people up in there, started shooting, bro. The manager came in, started dumping, man. As soon as I left out the break room he went in there, man… that shit wild.”
“Sadly, though, we lost a few of our associates, I don’t know how many.”
Harper said he heard the shooter getting closer to him so he “booked it and got up out of there.”
The surviving colleagues appeared to be in shock as they discussed the possible identity of the shooter. “Manager guy? Why he shoot everybody?”
“I seen brains,” one woman could be heard crying in the background of the video as he asked if she was all right.
“What the hell was going through his mind?”
In another social media post, Joetta Jeffrey, whose mother was at the Walmart as the shooting occurred, said her mom told her “they took a man out in a shopping cart because there wasn’t enough stretchers.”
“Praying for the victims families. I don’t know what I would of done if I would of got a call or text that was completely different,” she said after sharing the chilling texts her mom sent as the shooting took place.
The shooting at the Chesapeake Bay Walmart marked the 31st mass shooting in November alone, according to Gunviolence.org.
In a statement to ABC, Walmart said: “We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia, store. 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.”
Virginia state Sen. Louise Lucas said in a statement: “I am absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia tonight. I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives.”
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who represents the district, said: “Tragically, our community is suffering from yet another incident of senseless gun violence just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.”
A family reunification site was set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center for immediate family members or the emergency contact of those who may have been in the building.
The incident comes days after an attack on queer venue Club Q in Colorado Springs, where a rifle-toting gunman opened fire during a drag show, killing five and injuring more than a dozen before he was tackled by heroic patrons.
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