The bad news keeps on coming—the umpteenth shooting in a crowded, public place has occurred. This time it was a Walmart in Virginia late Tuesday, where a shooter opened fire leaving six people dead, police said, in the second high-profile mass killing in a handful of days. The assailant is also dead.
The store in Chesapeake was busy just before the shooting Tuesday night with people stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, a shopper told a local TV station.
It was not clear who the shooter was or what their motive might be.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our city,” Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted on the city’s Twitter account Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a tight knit community and we are all shaken by this news.”
Joetta Jeffery told CNN she received text messages from her mother who was inside the store during the shooting. Her mother, Betsy Umphlett, was not injured.
“I’m crying, I’m shaking,” Jeffery said. “I had just talked to her about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving, then this text came in.”
The attack at the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. Earlier in the year, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
This is not the first Walmart to have been the site of such a trauma, in 2019, a gunman police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso and killed 22 people.
Tuesday’s shooting had apparently stopped when police arrived at the store in Chesapeake, which is Virginia’s second-largest city and lies next to the seaside communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said in a text message that five patients from the Walmart were being treated at Norfolk General Hospital. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.
Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked at this tragic event.”
Local political figures joined in decrying the violence as U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said in a tweet that he was “sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake” and 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.”