The shooter who killed one person and injured 12 others at a Kroger supermarket outside of Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday is believed to be an employee.
According to Action 5 News, a current employee who was not working Thursday said one of his co-workers recognized the shooter as a Kroger employee, and a family member of another employee also said the shooter was a Kroger employee.
But at a news conference Thursday night, Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane would not confirm whether the shooter had been a store employee or what type of weapon was used, saying those details were part of the investigation.
He said, though, there is ‘no credible evidence there was a second shooter,’ and ‘as far as we know there wasn´t any other incident that led up to this.’
Authorities are still working to figure out a motive, he added, and have not yet named a suspect.
‘It´s going to take a little bit before we know what happened,’ Lane said
The shooter killed himself after the rampage, according to authorities. Several store employees hid in freezers and locked closets during the horror.
As of 4pm local time, four people were listed in critical condition at Regional One Hospital. Five were in non-critical condition.
Baptist Memorial Hospital in Collierville also received one patient, who was discharged, and the Baptist Memorial in Memphis received two, according to the New York Times.
One victim was in surgery, Dale said, and another was admitted to the ICU.
Police respond to the scene of a shooting at a Kroger’s grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee on Thursday
One person has been killed and 12 others were wounded in a mass shooting at the supermarket
People embrace as police respond to the scene of the shooting in suburban Memphis
A Kroger employee appears to be overcome with emotion as she talks on a cell phone in the parking lot of the supermarket after Thursday’s mass shooting
A SWAT team officer is seen outside of the Kroger in Collierville, Tennessee on Thursday
A woman uses a cellphone in the parking lot as police respond to a shooting at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee
The shooting took place at a Kroger in Collierville, a suburb just east of Memphis, according to Fox 13 TV. There were 44 employees inside the grocery store at the time, Lane said.
SWAT team officers arrived on the scene and went aisle to aisle in search of the shooter, according to police. The FBI also deployed its emergency response team.
The Collierville chief of police said the department received a report of an active shooter at 1:30pm. The first officers arrived on the scene four minutes later.
After the store was secure and the shooter confirmed dead, police searching the store parking lot were still investigating the shooter’s car as well as personal equipment that is believed to have belonged to him.
Brignetta Dickerson, a Kroger employee for 32 years, said she was at the cash register when she heard gunshots. She said she played dead in order to avoid being seen by the gunman.
‘He started popping that gun,’ she told WREG-TV.
‘It sounded a bit like a balloon popping. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap — just like that.’
Dickerson also said she saw a male colleague get shot in the head. He was still able to talk, she said.
‘This right here is not going to stop me from working,’ she said.
‘I’m going to work on.’
‘This is the most horrific event to happen in Collierville history,’ Collierville Chief of Police Dale Lane said afterward.
‘This scene is horrific, I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and never seen anything like it.’
Several witnesses reported hearing at least a dozen gunshots.
A number of customers fled the store while employees took shelter in the freezer, according to reports.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said at a news conference on Thursday night that the police were still investigating whether the shooter was a former employee
An injured person is loaded into an ambulance outside of the Kroger supermarket in Collierville
A massive presence of law enforcement officials was seen at the Kroger supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee on Thursday
A Memphis Fire Department vehicle is seen above at the scene in Collierville
SWAT team officers helped the employees run to safety. A Kroger employee who escaped to the roof was rescued by responding officers, according to police.
A Fox 13 TV reporter witnessed three victims on the ground, though their condition is not known.
Two medical helicopters were in the area to evacuate victims, according to witnesses.
There is no additional threat to the community, Chief Lane said at a news conference Thursday night.
The shooting was reported at the Kroger supermarket on Byhalia and Poplar Avenue in Collierville.
In a statement, the supermarket chain said: ‘The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time.
‘We are cooperating with local law enforcement, who have secured the store and parking lot,’ it continued. ‘The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have initiated counseling services for our associates.’
Authorities said they were working with witnesses to understand what unfolded before the shooting, and did not have any information about a motive.
The Collierville chief of police said the department received a report of an active shooter at 1:30pm
A row of police cars is seen near the Kroger supermarket in Collierville on Thursday
The ATF is heading to the scene and will be helping with the investigation. The Memphis Police Department has also sent personnel to assist with the probe
First responders arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting began, with several individuals rushed to the hospital, WMC-TV reported.
Glenda McDonald, a Kroger employee who works in the store’s floral department, said she was not injured but was shaken.
McDonald said she walked out of the back office to the floral counter when she heard a loud noise that sounded similar to a gunshot.
‘I just ran out the door,’ McDonald said. ‘I left my purse, my keys, everything.’
Schools in the region were placed on lockdown.
Parents of students at Collierville High School received a message indicating that there was a shooting off-campus.
A lockdown was announced but it has since been lifted.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were at the scene to help with the investigation.
The Memphis Police Department has also sent personnel to assist with the probe.
Kroger employees are seen outside of the store after the mass shooting on Thursday
Law enforcement officials and Kroger employees are seen in the parking lot outside of the supermarket in Collierville on Thursday
Police officers investigate the crime scene outside the Kroger supermarket in Collierville on Thursday
Employees embrace in the parking lot of the Kroger store after the mass shooting on Thursday
Manny Reis, 49, was driving down Poplar Avenue when he saw several police cars arrive.
‘Tons and tons of cop cars flying towards the back entrance of the Kroger on the street that runs behind it and they blocked it all off, and then they’re all opening up their trunks and grabbing shotguns,’ Reis told Memphis Commercial Appeal.
‘And then they all started swarming around.’
Reis said he witnessed four paramedics carrying away someone without a shirt.
‘There were some people out. There was somebody without a shirt on,’ Reis said.
‘So I don’t know if that person got injured, was shot I don’t know.
‘I know at one point I did see them basically, like four people go over to that person and pick that person up and carry them away from that area.’
Sarah McDowell, 26, said her mother works in the store’s meat department. She was at the scene and was unable to reach her mother.
‘I heard that there was an active shooter and my mom works here,’ McDowell said.
‘It’s been an hour and a half and I still don’t know where she is.’
She added: ‘My mom is really kind. Everybody that works with her loves her. She’s like a mom to everyone.’
Elsewhere, Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tweeted that her office was in touch with local authorities and with agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the ATF.
She added that she was ‘closely monitoring the situation’ and offered prayers for the victims.