A man has been arrested after he allegedly walked into a manager’s office in a New York grocery store and opened fire, leaving one person dead and injuring two others.
The incident happened at the Stop & Shop store in West Hempstead on Long Island just after 11 a.m., police said.
Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder told reporters that authorities believe Wilson is either a current or former store employee.
Wilson had previously posted videos on Facebook, which were viewed by BuzzFeed News, that show him working at a grocery store and wearing what appears to be a T-shirt with the Stop & Shop logo in April and May 2019. He is also seen in the videos standing in front of what appears to be the logo and near shopping carts with the store’s signature purple handles.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Stop & Shop spokesperson declined to comment on Wilson’s employment status, but company president Gordon Reid said they will fully cooperate with the police during the investigation and that the store will be closed until further notice.
“We are shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence that occurred at our store located at 50 Cherry Valley Road in West Hempstead, NY, today,” said Reid. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, our associates, customers and the first responders who have responded heroically to this tragic situation.”
Authorities said the man killed was a store employee who was approximately 49 years old. Two other employees were wounded.
Their identities have not been released, and a motive is not yet clear.
"America’s grocery workers have been bravely putting their health at risk on the frontlines of COVID-19 every day to keep our families fed," said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. "This latest mass shooting is a tragic reminder that the pandemic is not the only threat these workers face.
Tuesday’s shooting marks yet another in a wave of mass shootings that have swept the US over the past several weeks. Some have occurred in businesses and have been allegedly committed by former employees.
Just on Friday, eight people were fatally shot and five were injured at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, allegedly by a man who previously worked there. On April 8, a former employee of a Texas cabinet business allegedly opened fire in the store, killing one person and injuring another five.
Tuesday’s shooting was also the second deadly shooting at a grocery store in less than a month. On March 22, 10 people were killed at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
The American Public Health Association says gun violence is a major public health problem and the leading cause of premature death in the US.
Since the beginning of 2021, at least 5,631 people have been killed as a result of gun violence, not including suicides and police killings, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
President Joe Biden has pushed for stronger gun control measures, taking steps that would limit untraceable "ghost guns," fund community programs working to stop gun violence, and regulate "stabilizing braces," which can turn a handgun into something similar to a short-barreled rifle.
But the power to ban assault weapons or expand background checks lies with Congress, whom Biden has urged to take these actions.
"No matter how long it takes, we’re going to get these passed," Biden said in a speech earlier this month. "We’re not going to give up. We have an opportunity to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to keep our people safe."