COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — A gunman attacked a grocery store in an upscale Tennessee suburb on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and wounding at least 13 others before he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the store, authorities said.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the shooting broke out at a Kroger grocery in Collierville, a suburban community 30 miles east of Memphis. He said the gunman shot 13 others and himself, and that 12 of the victims were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries.
Olivia King was one of 13 people shot, including employees and customers, friends told The Commercial Appeal.
On Facebook, one of King’s sons, Wes King, posted about his mother’s death. He wrote that he had spoken to the trauma surgeon and learned his mother was shot in the chest.
“They tried to save her at the hospital to no avail,” he wrote. “I apologize for the graphic details, but this type of crime needs to stop being glossed over and sanitized. No one deserves this.”
One Kroger worker, Brignetta Dickerson, told NewsNation affiliate WREG she was working a cash register when she heard what at first she thought were balloons popping.
“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting,” Dickerson said. “And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach.”
“I left her a voicemail that he was alert and talking,” Dickerson said, unable to immediately reach her.
Lane said police received a call about 1:30 p.m. about the shooting and arrived within minutes, finding multiple people shot when they entered the building.
“We found people hiding in freezers, in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do: run, hide, fight,” the chief said.
He said a SWAT team and other officers went aisle to aisle plucking panicked people from hiding and taking them out safely. He said the shooter, whom he described as male, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
Jason Lusk, 39, had just left a tool store beside Kroger when he heard some women screaming in the parking lot about a shooter. He didn’t see the gunman, but heard 10 to 15 rounds in rapid succession at the grocery store.
“It sounded like they were directly over my head,” he said, adding he could feel the concussion of every shot and knew the weapon was powerful. Even at a distance of some 40 yards, he said, he worried that he and others around him were in grave danger.
“As the firing started, I dove in front of my vehicle onto the ground to provide the most cover for myself and instructed the people around me panicking, trying to get into the cars, not to get in their cars, but to actually hide,” he said.
The identities of the shooter and the victims were not immediately released. At a news briefing Thursday evening, Lane declined to reveal more about the suspect, citing the ongoing investigation, including search warrants that will be carried out.
The suspected shooter’s vehicle was in the store’s parking lot and remained a part of the investigation, the chief said.
“Let’s get through the investigation,” Lane said. “Remember, we’re two hours away from the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”
Kroger sent NewsNationNow.com a statement after the shooting. It says, in part:
“The entire Kroger family offers our 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 initiated counseling services for our associates.”Kroger Spokesperson
Collierville is a growing suburb of more than 51,000 people with a median household income of about $114,000, according to U.S. census figures. Set in a rural and historic area, the town square has largely become known for its boutiques and bed and breakfasts.
Earlier this year, Tennessee became the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a state-level background check and training. The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee over objections from some law enforcement groups and gun control advocates concerned the measure would possibly lead to more gun violence.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WREG contributed to this report.
- Trump announces launch of his own media company, social media site
- ‘Listen to border patrol’: Sen. Rick Scott weighs in on the border debate
- Hardware stores find creative fixes to supply chain issues
- Farmer: ‘Trouble’ ahead for U.S. food supply chain as John Deere strike continues
- How are vaccine mandates affecting air travel?