1 dead, 14 injured in shooting at Kroger grocery store near Memphis, suspected gunman identified: police
One person was killed and 14 others were injured in a shooting at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, near Memphis, authorities said.
The suspected shooter also died of a gunshot wound he apparently self-inflicted, police said.
Authorities on Friday identified the alleged shooter as UK Thang, 29, a third-party supplier to Kroger.
Collierville Police Department Chief Dale Lane told a press briefing on Friday that a total of 15 people had been shot, including Olivia King, 70, who died of her injuries and in poor condition. stable.
Ten of the shot victims were Kroger employees and five were customers, Lane said.
As of Monday, four of the victims were still hospitalized, but in stable condition, Collierville police said.
Lane confirmed that the alleged shooter was a sniper. He had a few minor charges in his criminal history. âI believe in arrests for misdemeanors but nothing to do with violence,â Lane said.
He said officials served a search warrant at the suspected gunman’s home in a local apartment complex on Thursday evening, seizing electronics and other evidence, and that another person was questioned.
The police did not disclose a motive or indicate what type of weapon it was.
Police released additional details on the shooter on Monday. They said in a report that he moved to Collierville in the summer of 2020 and was asked Thursday morning to quit his job.
Authorities are investigating the shooting as a possible incident of workplace violence, ABC News has learned. Kroger officials did not immediately respond to questions from ABC News about the alleged gunman’s employment status.
Police said on Thursday that at least 14 patients had visited local hospitals and that there had been “very serious” injuries. Five of those patients were in critical condition and one was discharged, hospital staff confirmed to ABC News Thursday evening.
One victim was not shot but suffered an anxiety attack, police said.
King’s family identified her as the killed victim and they believed she had gone to church for daily mass Thursday morning before shopping at the store.
“Our family is devastated by this senseless act of violence. We ask you to pray for the rest of the soul of our mother, Olivia,” one of her sons, Wes King, told ABC News. “We also ask everyone to pray for all the families and friends affected by today’s events, as well as God’s mercy for the shooter and his family. Thank you.”
The 44 store workers at the time of the shooting have been found, Chief Dale Lane said at a press briefing Thursday evening, noting the crime scene was “significant”.
Some hid in freezers and locked offices when gunfire erupted around 1:30 p.m. local time, police said. An employee fled to the roof and was escorted to safety by the police.
Brignetta Dickerson, a cashier, said WATN, subsidiary of Memphis ABC that she ran into a back room with clients. The cashier said the shooter entered by shooting, hitting an employee in the head, a customer in the stomach and an employee in the cheek. She said the gunman then left and continued to open fire.
âAll of a sudden I went through the front deskâ¦ and here he comes right behind us and started shooting and he kept shooting and shooting and shooting,â she told WATN.
Tawana French said she was heading for the Kroger on Thursday afternoon when she encountered people, including children, running out of the store.
âA fraction of a second later I hear gunshots,â French told Linsey Davis in an ABC News Live Prime interview Thursday night. âI ran, ran, ran. Before I could reach my car, which wasn’t very far at all, I heard more gunshots. Quick succession, just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. “
“I just wanted to get to a safe place,” said French, who immediately got into his car and drove away.
Employee Jean Prost said she was working in the produce section at the back of the store when she heard five loud noises that she initially thought were the sound of a coworker popping balloons.
“I was like ‘My God, she breaks a lot of balloons.’ And I looked up and saw people running, and I thought, ‘Oh, something’s going on or they wouldn’t be running,’ “said Prost.
Prost rushed through a side door and rushed to the back of the building with a customer, finding a “little corner of bricks” in which to hide. The shots were so loud that she was sure the shooter was shooting her gun outside, she said.
“I’m like ‘There’s nowhere to hide.’ You’re just in the open and you’re at his mercy and he might just shoot you, “Prost said. “I was so scared I couldn’t even run.”
Sara Wiles, an intensive care unit nurse, was shopping for groceries when shots were fired.
“I just walked in on a Thursday to buy a potato, an onion to make soup for dinner and I was in the back and heard the first sound of the gun, but then , I thought it was one of the Mylar balloons, âshe said. said on “Hello americaâFriday. When she heard more gunshots, she started running to the meat department.
A Kroger employee directed her and two others to the back hallway near the warehouses. âWe made a hiding place and hid in that area until we could hear things starting to calm down,â Wiles recalls.
Eventually, police passed by and led them to the back of the store, where other shooting victims were waiting. That’s when her nursing instinct kicked in.
âI just turned around and looked at the paramedics and said I’m a nurse, what should I do? What do you need me to do? were aware, âWiles said.
âEveryone said when they saw this scenario that it never happens in my community. I can tell you that it is true to live here for 33 years,â she said, praising the first responders for their prompt response. “It could have been a lot worse if it had been a weekend.”
The suspected gunman’s car remained in the store’s parking lot, police said. Resources were mobilized to inspect the vehicle safely. Police plan to execute search warrants in several locations, but Lane was unable to release any information on the location.
There are no additional threats at the moment, he said.
âThis situation is going to create fear, but we are a resilient community,â Lane said.
Collierville is approximately 30 miles from Memphis.
Memphis Police noted his officers help secure the scene. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also at the scene.
A spokesperson for Kroger said in a statement: “The entire Kroger family offers their thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time.”
“We are cooperating with local law enforcement, who have secured the store and parking lot. The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have launched advisory services for our associates,” the statement continued. .
ABC News’ Jack Date, Luke Barr, Aaron Katersky, Will McDuffie, Nick Cirone, Ivan Pereira, Miles Cohen and Kendall Coughlin contributed to this report.