Virginia: Seven dead after violence at US supermarket

Shortly before Thanksgiving in the United States, a man shot himself in a supermarket in the state of Virginia.

Virginia: Seven dead after violence at US supermarket

Shortly before Thanksgiving in the United States, a man shot himself in a supermarket in the state of Virginia. Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a press conference on Wednesday that seven people were shot dead in the violence late Tuesday evening (local time), including the shooter himself. The alleged perpetrator was an employee of the supermarket chain Walmart, as Solesky confirmed when asked. After the crime, the man committed suicide with a firearm.

US media, citing investigators, reported that the perpetrator fired on his victims in a break room. The police initially did not comment on this and referred to ongoing investigations. Solesky said four people were still being treated for injuries in hospital as of Wednesday. CNN reported one fatality was found outside the building. US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to the relatives and emphasized that the nation must stand together against gun violence. "We still have to do more."

The incident happened two days before Thanksgiving, when many people were shopping for the holiday that is so important in the United States. At 10:12 p.m. (local time), the police were alerted to a shot in a Walmart supercenter, said police spokesman Leo Kosinski. Upon entering the building, officials found "several dead and several injured." Since it is a very big business, the search for other possible victims initially continued. Dozens of police cars and ambulances could be seen in front of the mall in pictures and videos.

The huge problem of gun violence

"It's sad. We're a few days before Thanksgiving. It's a tough time for everyone involved, especially the victims. It's awful," Kosinski added. "Thank God I was late," a night shift worker told local broadcaster WAVY TV. "We are shocked by this tragic event," retail giant Walmart said in a statement. The company works closely with the Chesapeake Police Department. The city has around 250,000 inhabitants.

Chesapeake Senator Louise Lucas of the Democratic Party called on Twitter for an end to the "epidemic of gun violence" in the United States. Five people were killed and 18 others injured in a shooting at a nightclub popular with gays, lesbians and the trans community in the US state of Colorado over the weekend. The week before, a student shot and killed three other students on the University of Virginia campus.

The US has long struggled with massive levels of gun violence. Firearms are often readily available in the country. According to the latest data from the health authority CDC, around 20,000 people were shot in the USA in 2020 alone - more than 50 a day.

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