A Tuesday night shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, has resulted in “multiple fatalities,” police said, adding that the suspect was dead. Officers were dispatched to an active threat situation at the Walmart Supercenter at 10:12 p.m. local time, Chesapeake police spokesperson Leo Kosinski told reporters at the scene.
“Over the course of the next 30, 45 minutes, we were able to find multiple fatalities and multiple injured parties,” Kosinski said.
The exact number of deceased and wounded victims was not confirmed. The injured were transported to multiple area hospitals, one of which confirmed it was treating five people for unspecified injuries.
The shooter was believed to have acted alone, Kosinski said, and the circumstances of the suspect’s death were not immediately provided.
The shooting was believed to have occurred inside the store, Kosinksi said, although at least one body was found outside. According to Walmart’s website, the store was open to customers at the time of the shooting.
Police later confirmed that officers had finished searching the store and that all victims had been located, but they still provided no casualty figures.
Chesapeake is located in southern Virginia’s coastal Hampton Roads region, which includes the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Kosinksi said a “reunification site” had been established at the Chesapeake Conference Center, which a city Twitter account said was “for immediate family members or the emergency contact of those who may have been in the building.”
This marks the second major mass shooting in the U.S. in just the past few days. Five peoplewhen a suspect opened fire in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the early morning hours Sunday.
“Sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia tweeted early Wednesday morning.
Walmart provided a statement saying the company was “shocked at this tragic event” and “praying for those impacted, the community and our associates.”
The retail giant said it was “working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”
Virginia state Senator Louise Lucas, a Democrat who represents the Chesapeake region that encompasses Chesapeake, said in a tweet that she was “heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district.”
“I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives,” she said.
“Tragically, our community is suffering from yet another incident of senseless gun violence just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia.
According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States this year, with at least 36 resulting in fatalities.
A criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, Alan Fox, who has compiled data on shootings in the U.S. for decades, reported the same figure, which he said had made 2022 a record year for such attacks even prior to the incident at the Walmart in Chesapeake.
“I’ve been studying mass killings for over 40 years and I am quite confident that there has never been a year where we’ve had so many,” said Fox in an article published Monday by Northeastern, in the wake of the Colorado shooting.
Fox noted “an unprecedented surge” since the beginning of October alone, during which time he said there had been 13 fatal mass shootings.
“That’s an average of about two mass shootings per week,” Fox said.