A shooter opened fire in a Kroger supermarket in Collierville, Tennessee on Thursday injuring more than a dozen and killing one before turning the gun on himself in what the police chief called “the most horrific event” in the town’s history.
The shooter was reportedly a disgruntled employee who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound according to police.
“I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and I’ve never seen a scene like this,” Collierville police Chief Dale Lane said, calling it “the most horrific event in Collierville history.”
Police officers and SWAT went aisle to aisle rescuing employees. A number of them hid in the store’s freezer to escape the rampage. One employee climbed onto the roof to save himself.
“They were doing what they had been trained to do — run, hide, fight,” Lane said at a news conference.
(Video Credit: ABC News)
Police reported that there were 44 employees present in the store when the shooting took place. It is unknown how many customers were inside.
— البيروتي (@beiruti1987) September 23, 2021
A call came into the police department around 1:30 p.m. reporting an active shooter at Kroger.
“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting,” Kroger employee Brignetta Dickerson told Nashville’s WKRN-TV. “And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach.”
The victim who died in the shooting has been identified as Olivia King by her family, according to the Daily Mail. She was a mother of three and was reportedly shot in the chest.
Her son, Wes King, who is apparently in the military, issued a touching statement on Facebook after his mom’s death. “Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that my mother has died [from] her wounds,” he wrote.
He received a call “from a stranger” while working who told him that his mother “was hit during an active shooter scene, and that I was marked as her emergency contact. She was breathing at the time he called me.”
His mother was shot “directly in the chest.” Emergency personnel attempted to save her life with CPR until she arrived at the hospital. The hospital staff then took over but she passed away.
“I apologize for the graphic details, but this type of crime needs to stop being glossed over and sanitized,” King’s son wrote. “No one deserves this.”
Olivia King was killed when a disgruntled worker shot 13 people inside a Kroger in east suburban Collierville.
Here with her youngest son, Greg. pic.twitter.com/3a6NEVb59g
— Dakarai Turner (@Dakarai_Turner) September 24, 2021
“Our family is devastated by this senseless act of violence. We ask that you pray for the repose of the soul of our mother, Olivia King,” the family’s statement read. “We also ask everyone for their prayers for all families and friends affected by the events today, as well as for God’s mercy on the shooter and his family. Thank you.”
The injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Some reports say as many as 14 were injured. At least one of the victims went immediately into surgery and another was placed in the ICU according to Lane. A number of them are in critical condition.
“We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred at our Kroger store,” the company sadly remarked in a released statement. “The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers, and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time.”
“The victims were able to get medical treatment much faster because of the integration between police and fire,” the police chief asserted. “It’s one thing to see it on the news, but it’s another thing when you’re having to go in and know that there a potential person armed on the other side.”
“And there was not one person that didn’t [go in],” Lane stated. “That building was flooded with blue uniforms and I’m very thankful for that.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies swarmed the scene. Among those present were the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Memphis Police Department. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) also joined the investigation.
SCSO deputies are on site of a shooting at Kroger located at 240 New Byhalia Road in Collierville to support Collierville Police Department. SCSO is assisting with securing the perimeter and scene.
— ShelbyTNSheriff (@ShelbyTNSheriff) September 23, 2021
The shooter’s car was inspected for bombs and booby traps by officers, according to Nashville’s NewsChannel 5. A robot removed a box from the car.
BREAKING: Police investigating Kroger shooter’s car to make sure it’s clear of any possible explosive booby traps. We’ve been told to get behind sturdy cover just in case. A bomb robot has pulled out a box inside the car. @NC5 pic.twitter.com/G83ZEqLKMX
— Jason Lamb (@JasonLambNC5) September 23, 2021
The scene is now reportedly secure but the store will remain closed during the investigation. Search warrants have reportedly been issued.
“It’s going to take a little bit before we know what happened,” Lane commented.
Tennessee’s U.S. Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn reacted to the horrific news via Twitter.
Tragic news out of Collierville, TN, that I'm closely monitoring. I'm grateful to law enforcement & first responders for their heroic actions. Chrissy & I are praying for the victims & this TN community that is hurting. My office is available to anyone needing assistance.
— Senator Bill Hagerty (@SenatorHagerty) September 23, 2021
Our office has been in contact with ATF, TBI, and local authorities on the ground, and we are closely monitoring the situation in Collierville. We are praying for all of the victims.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) September 23, 2021
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also released a statement on the shooting.
“We are monitoring the tragic situation in Collierville and offer full support to @TBInvestigation, @TNDeptofSafety, and local law enforcement as they investigate further,” he tweeted.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) September 23, 2021
Collierville High School was locked down during the shooting but later lifted the precaution.
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