The shooter who killed 6 people at a Walmart in Virginia was an employee, police say

(CNN) — The shooter who killed six people at a Walmart in Virginia Tuesday night was an employee of the store, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said Wednesday.

Police believe the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Solesky said. However, his identity was not made public as his next of kin were not notified.

The motive behind the massacre remains a mystery.

At least four people remain hospitalized Wednesday, the police chief said. Solesky said he doesn’t know the condition of the patients.

Investigators searched the store overnight through Wednesday, looking for victims or anyone who may have been in hiding, Chesapeake Police Department spokesman Leo Kosinski previously told CNN.

Investigators believe the gunman opened fire on other employees in a break room, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Officials responded to the Walmart around 10:12 p.m. – less than an hour before it was scheduled to close.

The shooting, which took place two days before Thanksgiving while customers were making last-minute purchases, is another example of gun violence erupting in American life in places traditionally considered safe, from schools to stores to hospitals.

At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville — about 170 miles west of Chesapeake — a 22-year-old student reportedly opened fire on fellow students this month, killing three of them on a bus returning to campus from a field trip to Washington. direct current.

Last weekend, a 22-year-old shot dead five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and injured 19 others, authorities said.

Tuesday’s shooting came as the US has recorded more than 600 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The Archives and CNN count a mass shooting with at least four dead or injured, not counting the shooter.

Mom in shock after surviving shooting

Joetta Jeffery told CNN her mother, Betsy Umphlett, texted her from the store during the shooting, warning her that someone had opened fire.

“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery told CNN. “I was just talking to her about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving when this text came in.”

Jeffery said her mother was unharmed but in shock and they are reunited.

Chesapeake city officials have asked people to stay away from business during the investigation.

“Our first responders are well trained and ready to go; Please give them space to do so,” the city said in a tweet.

A reunion center has been set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center, city officials said. They are demanding that only immediate family and emergency contacts from people who have been to the store go to the center.

In a statement, Walmart said it was shocked by the tragedy that unfolded at one of its stores.

“We are praying for those affected, the community and our staff. We are working closely with law enforcement and are focused on supporting our employees,” the company said in the statement.

The Washington, DC branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting local police with the investigation, the bureau said on Twitter.

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