By a Biometrica staffer
A gunman opened fire in an upscale Kroger grocery store in Collierville, a suburban community about 30 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, Sept. 23, killing one person and wounding as many as 12 others, the Associated Press reported. The shooter was found dead by an apparent self-inflicted wound after he had committed the attacks. One victim was in the ICU and another in surgery as of Thursday; the status of the other parties is not known.
Brignetta Dickerson, said 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,” she 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.”
Police received 911 calls at around 1:30pm, and found people with multiple gunshot wounds when they arrived and entered the building. Many were just caught in the crossfire. Some employees hid in freezers and locked offices when the gunfire broke out at about 1:30pm. One employee fled to the roof and was escorted to safety by police.
Tawana French said she was heading into the Kroger when she saw people rushing out of the store. “A split second later, I hear gunfire,” French told Linsey Davis in an interview on ABC News Live Prime. “I ran, ran, ran. Before I could get to my car, which was not very far at all, I heard even more gunfire. Rapid succession, just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. I just wanted to get to a safe place,” said French, who immediately got in her car and drove away.
“We found people hiding in freezers, in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do: run, hide, fight,” said Dickerson.
While police chief Dale Lane would not comment on an ongoing investigation, he did say, “We’re going to carry this thing as far as we can to see and make sure that there’s no else involved. As far as we know there wasn’t any other incident that led up to this.”
The mass shooting in a suburb of Memphis was described as the “the most horrific event that has ever occurred in Collierville history,” WREG Memphis reported.
The lone fatality was identified as Olivia King by family. “Our family is devastated by this senseless act of violence. We ask that you pray for the repose of the soul of our mother,” one of her sons, Wes King, told ABC News. “We also ask everyone for their prayers for all families and friends affected by the events today, as well as for God’s mercy on the shooter and his family. Thank you.”
Collierville Police Chief Lane admitted this was one of the most difficult situations he had dealt with. “This scene is horrific, I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and never seen anything like it,” Lane was quoted as saying by CBS News.
Investigators are working to figure out if workplace violence was a factor in the Kroger shooting and also whether the deceased shooter may have been a disgruntled employee. For the moment, authorities say there is no reason to believe that this was an act of foreign terrorism.