‘It was really frightening’: Roof inspector helped police find Tennessee grocery store gunman

Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — As the deadly shooting took place inside a Tennessee grocery store on Thursday, a roof inspector heard the first gunshots from outside.

Andre Barlow was trapped on the roof of the Kroger in Collierville Thursday as terror unfolded in the store below. Barlow, who works for a third-party contractor, was there inspecting the roof.

 “Whenever they have a roof leak, I’m the one to come to that store,” Barlow said.

Police identified the gunman, who killed one person and wounded 14 others, as UK Thang, who was also a Kroger contractor. The 29-year-old worked in a sushi business at the store.

The victims included 10 employees and five customers, police said. On Saturday, two of the victims were in critical condition.

Lawanda Clark, a Kroger employee, said she’d seen Thang meeting with managers hours earlier on Thursday, following months of bizarre and baffling behavior.

“Licking his tongue out and sticking his finger up at women,” Clark said. “When I first got there, they kind of warned me that he didn’t like people speaking to him.”

Thang returned to the store around 1:30 p.m.

“I heard some pops and I’m like, ‘What in the world is that?’” Barlow recalled.

His question was quickly answered when hordes of frightened customers and employees began pouring into the parking lot. Some took refuge in a gated dumpster area.

Barlow watched as Thang exited the store before turning his gun on them.

“Opened the gate and just started shooting. Pow, pow, pow, pop,” Barlow said.

Police believe Thang died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound by the time they arrived, four minutes after the first 911 calls. But that wasn’t immediately clear to those on the scene.

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“I heard people across the street in the other parking lot saying ‘The shooter is on the roof,’ and that’s when I threw my hands up in the air, placed them on my head,” Barlow said. “Man, it was really frightening.”

The Kroger is still an active crime scene, and Kroger has said the store will remain closed until further notice. 

Barlow isn’t sure whether the workers he’s gotten to know over the years were among those who were shot, but he’s keeping all of them in his prayers.

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The Associated Press and NewsNation affilaite WREG contributed to the report.

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