The perpetrator of the Virginia Walmart massacre was an employee and murdered six colleagues

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The shooting had already stopped when police arrived, reporting the shooter had taken his own life

The perpetrator of the Virginia Walmart massacre was an employee and murdered six colleagues

The shooting area, cordoned off by police (AP )

The man who opened fire at a Virginia store, killing six people, was a store employee, police confirmed Wednesday, in the second country's high-profile mass murder in a handful of days.

The Chesapeake Walmart store was very busy just before the shooting Tuesday night with people stocking up before the Thanksgiving holiday, a shopper told a local television station.

< p class="paragraph">There is no clear motive for the shooting, which also left four people in the hospital, Police Chief Mark G. Solesky said.

The attacker's house was searched, but Solesky he did not give his name, saying only that he was a Walmart employee, because his family had not been notified.

Police added, the assailant removed life. “We believe it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Solesky reported

“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place last night in our city,” Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted to the city's Twitter account Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken by this news.”

An employee talks to police officers (AP)

Joetta Jeffery told CNN that he received text messages from his mother who was inside the store when the shots were fired. Her mother, Betsy Umphlett, was not injured. “I'm crying, I'm shaking,” Jeffery said. “I had just talked to her about buying turkeys for Thanksgiving, and then this message came through.”

A database run by the AP , USA Today and Northeastern University tracking all mass murders in the United States since 2006 show that this year has been especially bad. The United States has already had 40 mass murders so far this year, second only to 45 in all of 2019. The database defines a mass murder as at least four people killed, not including the killer.

The Walmart attack came three days after a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and injuring 17. Earlier this year, the country was rocked by the deaths of 21 people when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Tuesday's shooting also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso , Texas, killing 22 people.

The shooting had apparently stopped when police arrived at the store in Chesapeakesaid Officer Leo Kosinski. The city is the second largest in Virginia and is adjacent to the coastal communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

The perpetrator of the Virginia Walmart massacre Virginia was an employee and murdered six colleagues

(Kendall Warner/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said in a text message that five Walmart patients were being treated at Norfolk General Hospital. Their terms were not immediately available.

A man was seen crying at a hospital after learning his brother was dead, and others screamed as they left a conference center set up as family reunification center, reported The Virginian-Pilot.

Camille Buggs, a former Walmart employee, told the newspaper that she went to the conference center looking for information about her former coworkers.

“You always say you don't think I'm going to happen in his city, in his neighborhood, in his store – in his favorite store and that's what has struck me,” said Buggs, 58, of Chesapeake.

Walmart tweeted early Wednesday that it was “shocked by this tragic event.”

US Senator Mark Warner said in a tweet that he was “disgusted by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.”

State Sen. Louise Lucas echoed Warner's sentiment, tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that America's latest mass shooting took place at a Walmart in my district.”

(With information from AP)

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