The state of Virginia witnessed its second mass shooting in a month when an employee of the Walmart Supercenter in Chesapeake, VA, walked into the break room and opened fire with a pistol Tuesday night, November 23. Six people were killed in the shooting, and the shooter also took his own life. The shooter’s identity has not been revealed due to the next of kin not yet being notified.
Police responded around 10:12 PM Tuesday, less than an hour before the store was due to close. The incident also resulted in four injuries, with the wounded still hospitalized as of Wednesday. Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky did not comment on the current condition of these patients. Nor have law enforcement been able to crack the shooter’s motive yet.
Betsy Umphlett was in the store when the shooting took place. She had just been speaking to her daughter, Joetta Jeffery, about buying turkeys for the holiday. The subsequent correspondence involved Umphlett sending Jeffery texts during the shooting, informing her what was going on. The pair have been reunited, and though Umphlett was not injured, Jeffery informed the media she is still in shock.
Someone claiming to have been in the bakery section when the shooting occurred shared footage of the aftermath inside the store on Facebook. At first, the individual thought the gunshots were fireworks before noticing that people were clearing the aisles very quickly.
A center has been set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center to reunite those in the store during the event with family and emergency contacts. City officials have asked people to stay away from the Walmart so that first responders can conduct their investigation. The Washington, DC, field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI are assisting the local police in the investigation.
President Joe Biden offered his condolences to the victims on Wednesday. “There are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” he said. The president also confirmed that he has instructed federal officials to provide any assistance and support needed by the city of Chesapeake.