COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — The man who opened fire at a Tennessee supermarket was a “third-party vendor” who wounded 15 people — one fatally — before taking his own life, police said Friday.
The victims included 10 employees and five customers at a Kroger on New Byhalia Road in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, city police Chief Dale Lane told reporters.
“Was he an employee? He was a third-party vendor for Kroger,” Lane said of the suspected shooter, who was identified as a 29-year-old man.
Investigators believe they know the motive, but Lane declined to immediately reveal what might have sparked Thursday’s bloodshed.
“We have a pretty good picture now (of the motive) but that’s not something that I’m ready to release at this point, we need to make sure that we don’t do anything to compromise this investigation,” Lane told NBC News.
The carnage was unlike anything the chief said he’s ever seen.
“We all came to the scene and all went into that building and so it’s the worst thing that I’ve seen in 34 years,” Lane said, describing a chaotic scene of people hiding in every corner of the store. “Coming out of, you know, like I said we were finding people all over the stores hidden. And in the freezers closets, you know, all over.”
Before police could engage him, the suspected gunman died from what authorities said they believed was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Collierville Alderman Maureen Fraser identified the victim in the shooting as friend Olivia King.
“I will miss her terribly,” she said Thursday in a statement.
The lawmaker praised first responders whose “many years of training was put to the test today and they did an remarkable job, it could have been so much worse.”
“Continue to pray for several others who were shot and are currently in surgery,” Fraser added. “Pray for the health care providers. Pray for the Kroger employees. Pray for Collierville!”
This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.
Shaquille Brewster reported from Collierville, Tennessee, and David K. Li and Doha Madani from New York.
Doha Madani contributed.