‘Senseless’: Suspect in shooting that killed 6 at Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart was store employee

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An employee opened fire at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, killing six people and wounding at least five others, authorities said, the latest tragedy in a wave of deadly gun violence across the nation. 

Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a briefing Wednesday that the first 911 call came in at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday, and the first officers arrived two minutes later, entering the store at 10:16. Police spokesman Leo Kosinski said rescue and tactical teams swept through the store providing “life-saving measures.” 

The assailant was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a handgun was recovered at the scene, Soleski said. His home was being searched but his identity was not released pending notification of family, the chief said.

“You hope a day like this never comes, but we train for it, we practice, we talk about it, we learn lessons,” City Manager Chris Price said at the briefing. “You hope that those lessons will never have to be put to use.” 

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‘He literally just started shooting’

Employee Briana Tyler told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that workers had gathered in the store’s break room at the start of a shift when the man, a manager, walked in and without saying a word started firing.

“He literally just started shooting throughout the entire break room,” she said. “And I watched multiple people just drop down to the floor, whether they were trying to duck for cover or they were hit. … He looked directly at me but luckily he missed my head by like an inch or two.”

Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said five patients from Walmart are being treated at Norfolk General Hospital. Their conditions weren’t immediately available. 

Mayor Rick W. West, in a statement posted on Twitter, lauded the efforts of first responders.

“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our city,” West said. “Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news.”

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