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 aisle to aisle 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, an employee of Kroger, 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 explode that gun,” she said. WREG-TV. âIt 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”.
âThe entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time,â Kroger said in a statement.
The company added that it is cooperating with local law enforcement authorities.
âThe store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have launched consulting services for our associates,â 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.
Brignetta Dickerson knew that the popping sound she heard Thursday inside the Kroger grocery store where she worked was a gunshot, as she yelled at customers to “Go!” Go! Go!”
As they ran to the back of the store in Collierville, Tenn., A suburb of Memphis, the sounds followed, Mrs. Dickerson says Region 8 News, a local television channel.
âI heard him coming from the back,â she said. âI was like, ‘Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.'”
They watched, she said, the gunman shoot one of his colleagues in the head and a client in the stomach. At least 13 people were injured, including one fatal, in the shooting, and police said the shooter died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Glenda McDonald, who works in the store’s floral department, said she believed she saw the shooter shoot a bagger and customers as she escaped the building.
“I just ran out”, Mrs. McDonald said at the Memphis trade call. “I left my purse, my keys, everything.”
Chaos continued outside the store as authorities responded to 911 calls.
“I’ve never seen so many police cars, in one place, in my life,” said Bruce Pates, 73.
Earlier today, Mr. Pates walked into a tire store across from Kroger. By the time he got out two hours later, there was a flurry of activity outside.
He watched the fire engines and ambulances leave the scene, only to be replaced seconds later by others. Rows of police cars line up in the parking lot.
Manny Reis, 49, was on his way to Kroger when he saw a fleet of police cars rushing towards the store. He ended up near the back of the building and saw someone who was injured.
âSomeone was sitting without their shirt,â he said. “The fire department came and basically grabbed this person and took him away.”
Although Ms Dickerson was safe, she said she still felt numb.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she said. “I’ve been through it all, but right here took the cake.”
Hospitals near a grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee were already struggling to keep up with Covid-19 patients when people injured in the attack arrived in the emergency room on Thursday.
National Guard troops had been stationed in medical centers to help cope with the influx of Covid-19 patients, and emergency medical providers had recently issued a terrible warning to local authorities about the pressure on hospitals.
âCurrently, the emergency services in our system are running dangerously overcapacity,â the medical providers wrote on Aug. 16. probability of survival.
They expressed particular concern about what might happen in the event of a disaster, given that âthe city has no surge capacity to accommodate additional disaster or unforeseen eventsâ.
An average of 96% of intensive care beds were occupied Thursday in Shelby County, Tennessee, according to data from the New York Times. A nearby facility, St. Francis Hospital, reported that its intensive care unit was 100% full; another said his intensive care unit was 97% full. There was 15 intensive care beds available in the five counties of Memphis and surrounding areas as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Shelby County Health Department.
Officials said at least a dozen people were injured and one killed inside the Kroger store in Collierville, about 30 miles east of Memphis in Shelby County.
Regional One Health, a hospital in Memphis, had received nine patients injured in the shooting, according to a spokesperson. She said the hospital has the capacity to accommodate these patients. The Baptist Memorial Hospital in Collierville received one patient, who was discharged, and the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis received two, according to a spokesperson.
Shelby County reported its highest number of Covid-19 cases during the pandemic last month. Those numbers have declined slightly in recent weeks but remain high, with a seven-day average of 409 cases.
Only 44 percent of the state’s population have been fully immunized. Governor Bill Lee recently signed an executive order quashing attempts by local authorities to require masks in schools. A federal judge blocked the entry into force of the governor’s ordinance in Shelby County on Friday after opponents fought him in court.
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 was 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.