Seven people are confirmed dead following a shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, where a gunman, believed to be the store manager, opened fire just days before Thanksgiving.
According to witnesses at the scene, one of the managers entered the break room and began shooting at people inside the Sam’s Circle Walmart, located just off of Battlefield Boulevard, around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday night. .
Police said the gunman was dead when they arrived on the scene, but did not confirm whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, although a Walmart employee claimed the shooter aimed it at himself.
First responders found several victims dead when they arrived on scene, as well as several injuries. The body of a victim was discovered outside, next to the entrance to the store.
The official social media account for the city of Chesapeake said there were seven confirmed deaths, citing law enforcement sources. Chesapeake police are preparing to release more details at a news conference Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. ET.
Earlier, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department said no more than 10 people were killed in the mass shooting and that he believes no police shots were fired. All the injured have been taken to area hospitals, he said.
Five patients were being treated for injuries at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the area’s main trauma center.
But many are believed to have been seriously injured as more than 40 emergency services vehicles plowed into the Walmart supercenter on Tuesday night.
A Walmart employee, standing outside the store after the horrific attack, revealed on social media: ‘It was the manager. One of the directors.
Referring to the gunman, the shocked staff member added: ‘He blew his brains out and everything. He killed the girl there and everything. He got in and started spraying. I feel sorry for the victims.
‘I just came out of the break room, the manager came in and started covering up the people in there, he started shooting. Unfortunately, we have lost some of our associates.
“It was a traumatic experience,” he later revealed to DailyMail.com.
A second Walmart employee, who reported for his night shift shortly after the shooting, told reporters at the scene: “Thank God I was late.”
Police pull out a tape after the horrific shooting at the Walmart located just off Battlefield Boulevard in Virginia
Police officer Leo Kosinski said there were multiple deaths and injuries and police were still searching the building, in an update early Wednesday morning.
He said: “When the police arrived on the scene, they realized it was an active shooter situation and we had to change our tactics.”
Addressing the fatal shooting, Walmart said in a statement: “We are shocked by this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store.” We are praying for those affected, the community and our associates. We are working closely with law enforcement and are focused on supporting our partners.’
The full extent of the massacre is currently unclear. The supercenter was open to the public at the time of the shooting, and police said the Walmart may have been busy as shoppers prepared for Thanksgiving.
Kosinski said police feared there might be even more people inside the large store, injured or hiding after the gunfire.
Virginia Beach police responded to assist the Chesapeake Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington tweeted early Wednesday morning that they were also on their way to help with the investigation.
Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas, who represents that part of Chesapeake, said: “I am absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place tonight at a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia.”
“I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this epidemic of gun violence in our country that has claimed so many lives.”
Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s representative posted on Twitter: “Enough is enough.”
Virginia Senator Mark Warner said: “Sickened by reports of another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake. I will closely follow the events.
Emergency service members are seen at the entrance to a Walmart shortly after the shooter rained down fire inside.
Last week, another shooting rocked the state of Virginia after three college football players were killed when a former player opened fire on a tour bus.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, fired on the bus at about 10:15 p.m., killing three people and wounding two more.
University of Virginia students Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed in the horrific shooting.
Prosecutors told the court that Devin Chandler was sleeping when he was shot dead. The students were returning from a field trip last Sunday when terror broke out.
Jones faces second-degree murder and other charges stemming from the shooting, which sparked a manhunt and a 12-hour campus lockdown before he was taken into custody in suburban Richmond.
Jones was taken into custody without bail and will appear in court in December at 9:30 a.m.