CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Authorities say the suspect behind a mass shooting Tuesday night at a Walmart just off Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, Virginia, is dead, and multiple victims are dead or injured.
At 4:30 a.m., Chesapeake police confirmed 7 people are dead, including the shooter.
Police say there were multiple of both found inside the building, where the shooting occurred. A greeter on duty at the time told WAVY the shooting started in the back of the store. One person was also found deceased outside the front entrance.
The call reporting the shooting came in at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday, when the Walmart Supercenter was still open to the public. Night shift workers had just recently checked in.
Chesapeake PD spokesperson Leo Kosinski did not have many updates in a briefing around 12:40 a.m. He says the injured were rushed to multiple area hospitals.
A spokesperson for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the area’s closest level 1 trauma center, confirmed five patients were being treated there.
No other updates from police were expected until later Wednesday morning, around 8 a.m. Chesapeake police are expected to hold a press conference at that time with the latest updates.
Police have not been able to confirm reports about exactly who the gunman was. Authorities have not confirmed how the gunman died and if they were shot by police.
A massive police response mobilized outside of the store after the shooting was reported, with FBI agents and Virginia Beach police responding to assist Chesapeake. The ATF in Washington tweeted just after midnight that they were also on the way to help in the investigation. Police entered the store after getting the call and continued to find victims for about 30 to 45 minutes, Kosinski said.
WAVY’s crew was being kept away from getting near the store, but police said as of 3 a.m. the store was considered safe. All victims had been located but there was still an active investigation.
If you’re looking for information or for a loved one who works or was at the store, go to the Chesapeake Conference Center.
Employees also gathered at the nearby Sam’s Club, where attendance was being taken. A night shift employee who spoke with WAVY’s Brett Hall said “thank goodness I showed up late.”
The mother of an employee said she heard the shots when she was on the phone with her son. He was physically OK after the shooting.
Meanwhile, an employee who said she was inside the store at the time told WAVY that a teenage employee was shot.
Walmart shared a statement on Wednesday morning, saying: “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.”
The shooting left many shocked, as current and former employees at the Walmart who spoke with WAVY said the store felt like home.
“I’ve been on the phone with a few other friends who were former employees, and customers, and we’re all just in disbelief,” a former employee at the store said Wednesday morning while trying to get answers about the injured at the convention center.
WAVY’s Craig Loper spoke to Debra Hazlett, whose brother was one of the shooting victims, outside of Norfolk General on Wednesday morning. The victim, who has worked at the Chesapeake Walmart for about 20 years, called his family around 10:18 p.m. and said he’d been shot. Hazlett says it’s comforting to know he’s been talking. He had only been clocked in for about 10 minutes when he was shot.
Comedian Jay Pharoah, a “Saturday Night Live” alum from Chesapeake, wrote: “This happened right down the street from my neighborhood in Chesapeake at the Walmart that my family and I have gone to for years. My heart is broken for those who aren’t getting a chance to come home and my condolences to the families who have to suffer through their losses. If I’m thankful for anything this holiday it’s my families life and mine. Thank God we didn’t get caught in it, my mother was just there today, I pray everybody I know is okay. I pray for those who I don’t know. Pray for Chesapeake, keep Va in your hearts this holiday season.”
Virginia state Sen. Louise Lucas, who represents that portion of Chesapeake, shared a statement on Tuesday night, saying “I am absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia tonight. I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives.”
Multiple other Virginia elected officials shared tweets and other statements early Wednesday morning:
This is a breaking article and will be updated.