Updated November 23, 2022 at 8:32 AM ET
CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A shooter opened fire in a Walmart Supercenter in Virginia late Tuesday, leaving six people dead and four hospitalized in the second high-profile mass killing in a handful of days. Police confirmed that the assailant is also dead from what they believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In a press conference early Wednesday, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said the gunman’s identity would be held until his next of kin had been notified, but that he was an employee of the store.
He was found dead at the scene, and police say his motive is still unknown.
The shooting 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.
And since 2019, Americans have witnessed at least five deadly shootings inside supermarkets, including one that killed 10 shoppers, most of them Black, at a Buffalo supermarket this May.
Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of a 2019 shooting in nearby Virginia Beach that left 12 dead. Then-Gov. Ralph Northam responded to that event by proposing a range of gun control measures for Virginia, the state that’s home to the NRA.
After a backlash from pro-rights groups, including a high-profile 2020 rally of thousands of armed protestors, the measures saw mixed success.
Chief Solensky said Tuesday’s gunman was believed to have been carrying a single pistol and acting alone.
Police say they arrived on the scene at 10:14 p.m. ET on Monday, two minutes after the first 911 call, and had officially cleared the store by 11:20 p.m. Officers also searched the suspect’s home early Wednesday, Solensky said.
Four patients from Walmart are being treated at Norfolk General Hospital, but their conditions weren’t immediately available, authorities said. (A spokesperson for the hospital earlier said they were treating five patients; it’s unclear if one had been released.)
Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked at this tragic event.”
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin echoed that sentiment, saying in a tweet that “heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities” and that he was in touch with law enforcement officers.
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said in a statement he was “devastated by the senseless act of violence” and described his city as a “tightknit community.”
Sarah McCammon reported from Chesapeake; Emily Olson reported from Washington, D.C.