Authorities in Chesapeake, Virginia provided a few more details on Wednesday morning about the shooting at a local Walmart on Tuesday evening that claimed the lives of at least six people and injured several others.
According to a briefing held by local police, the shooting began when the suspect, who apparently killed himself before police could respond, walked into a break room at the back of the store as employees were gathering before the start of their shift.
Police Chief Mark Solesky confirmed the gunman was an employee at the store. He said the gunman used a pistol in the deadly mass shooting. The shooters’ next of kin has not been notified. They did not identify the gunman during Wednesday morning’s press conference.
Six people have died from their injuries; four remain hospitalized, Solesky said. The gunman died from a self-inflicted wound.
10 On your Side’s KaMaria Braye was able to interview a witness, an employee at the Walmart, who claims the shooter was a manager at the facility.
According to the witness, there were 14 employees in a meeting room waiting to learn their duties for the day when the shooting began. 10 On Your Side is still working to confirm the witness information with authorities.
The witness added that she believes the shooting was planned and targeted other managers at that specific Walmart. At one point, the witness tells 10 On Your Side she heard the suspect laughing.
A massive police response mobilized outside of the store after the shooting was reported, with FBI agents and Virginia Beach police responding to assist Chesapeake. The ATF in Washington tweeted just after midnight that they were also on the way to help in the investigation. Police entered the store after getting the call and continued to find victims for about 30 to 45 minutes, Kosinski said.
Will the fact that the suspect used a handgun stop Joe Biden or his comms team from once again trying to shamelessly exploit a tragedy to push for a ban on so-called assault weapons? I’m skeptical. After all, he’s done so in several recent incidents, including the shooting on the campus of the University of Virginia in which a student is accused of shooting several members of the UVA football team as they returned to campus after a school affiliated trip to Washington, D.C. Maybe the fact that authorities have already disclosed that the suspect in Chesapeake used a pistol and not a rifle will cause the White House to hold off on setting a false narrative, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Expect more discussion about Virginia’s “red flag” law and whether it could or should have been used against the suspect as well, though so far police haven’t said if there were any indications or concerns about the man before we walked into the employee break room on Tuesday night and opened fire. There are lots of unconfirmed social media posts about the suspect and his previous behavior at work, but nothing has been substantiated at this point by either law enforcement or Walmart.
We’ll continue to report any updates, both on the investigation in Chesapeake as well as attempts by gun control activists and anti-2A politicians to use this terrible tragedy to call for more restrictions on the right of armed self-defense. Personally, I’m hoping that lawmakers work to address the crisis in mental health in Virginia, which has only gotten worse in recent years, but I suspect that Democrats will be putting a lot of pressure on Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the Republican majority in the House of Delegates to “do something” with gun control in the upcoming session instead.