Six people were killed and at least five wounded in a shooting rampage at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, late Tuesday, authorities said, the latest incident in a wave of gun violence across the nation.
The Chesapeake Police Department responded to a report of the shooting at about 10:15 p.m. ET and immediately found evidence of the carnage, Officer Leo Kosinski said in a news briefing.
Over 35 to 40 minutes, rescue and tactical teams swept through the store providing life-saving measures, he said. Police believe there was one shooter, who is dead, Kosinski said, adding that authorities believe the shooting had stopped when police arrived.
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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.”
Stunned employees who fled the scene gathered at the nearby Sam’s Club, where attendance was taken, WAVY-TV reported. Police said all employees had been accounted for. Authorities asked the public to stay clear of the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was assisting with the investigation.
Walmart released a statement on Twitter early Wednesday: “We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”
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Sen. Mark Warner tweeted that he is “sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.” State Sen. Louise Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district.”
Chesapeake police tweeted that a family reunification site has been set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center. This site is only for immediate family members or the emergency contact of those who may have been in the building, the tweet said.
Chesapeake is about 7 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia.
The shooting in Chesapeake is the latest incident to rock the country, coming days after a high-profile massacre in a well-known LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where five people were killed. Earlier this month, three University of Virginia football players were killed and two other students were hospitalized following a campus shooting.
Contributing: Charles Ventura, USA TODAY; The Associated Press