Gunman kills one and then himself at US supermarket, 12 wounded

A photo said to be of the scene which was posted to social media. PHOTO: TWITTER

NEW YORK (NYTIMES, REUTERS) - A gunman opened fire inside a grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, on Thursday (Sept 23), killing one person and injuring at least 12 people before he shot and killed himself, officials said.

Of the 12 wounded, one was in surgery and another in intensive care after the shooting in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, Police Chief Dale Lane told reporters. A 13th person was treated for an anxiety attack, he said.

Officials said they had received a report of a shooting at 1.30pm inside a Kroger store in Collierville, about 50km east of Memphis.

The first police car arrived at 1.34pm, and officers flooded the area and went from aisle to aisle and room to room, helping injured victims and escorting employees out of hiding.

"We found people hiding in freezers and in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do - run, hide, fight," police chief Lane told reporters, calling the gun violence "the most horrific event that has occurred in Collierville history".

He said the attacker had died and was believed to have been killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooter's vehicle was still in the parking lot, he said.

WREG-TV reported the shooter was an employee who had been fired on Thursday, citing an unnamed law enforcement source.

Brignetta Dickerson, a Kroger employee, told WREG that she instructed fellow employees and customers when the shooting broke out to follow her to the back of the store and closed the door behind them, but the gunman followed them.

"He kept on shooting and shooting and shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and then shot one of the customers in the stomach," Dickerson said, adding that the shooter appeared to have a military-style rifle.

"I'm a little shaky but I'm OK. I got God on my side," Dickerson said.

The Memphis Police Department said its officers were on the scene of the shooting and "assisting with securing the perimeter and scene."

Local news stations showed a line of ambulances at the store with their lights flashing, as well as a group of employees gathered in the parking lot with police officers.

Thursday's violence was the latest in a string of deadly workplace mass shootings that have erupted in U.S. cities, claiming dozens of lives and leaving many more wounded this year.

It came six months after a man armed with a military-style semi-automatic rifle and a pistol opened fire in a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people, including a police officer. No motive has been publicly explained for that attack, which took place one week after eight people were fatally shot at three spas in the Atlanta area.

It was also not the first time that a Kroger supermarket had been the scene of violence.

Ten people were killed in March when a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers supermarket owned by Kroger in Boulder, Colorado.

Kroger spokeswoman Teresa Dickerson said the Collierville store would be closed until further notice.

"It is an emotional roller coaster, as you can imagine,"Dickerson told reporters. "And we, of course, have provided counseling for every associate, who's here today, and we will continue to do that."

In October 2018, a white man shot two Black people at a Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, in a racially motivated attack.

The man, Gregory Bush, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last year after pleading guilty but mentally ill to the murders of Vickie Lee Jones and Maurice E. Stallard.

Bush did not know either of the two victims, and had tried unsuccessfully to enter First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly Black church, just before the shooting, officials said.

In August, one person was killed and another person was injured in a shooting in the parking lot of Kroger in Sandy Springs, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The newspaper said that shooting had been the result of a botched drug deal.

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