COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — A gunman killed at least 1 person and wounded at least 12 others Thursday at a Kroger grocery before dying from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
The shooting was reported Thursday afternoon at about 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Kroger in the town of Collierville, about 30 miles east of Memphis. Terrified grocery shoppers ran from the building amid gunshots fired inside, according to survivors and eyewitnesses.
“We found people hiding in freezers and in locked offices,” Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said. “They were doing what they had been trained to do. Run, hide, fight.”
One employee was extracted from the roof of the store, Lane said.
At least four victims are in critical condition, according to a spokesperson from Regional One Health.
“It’s horrific. We hate that it happened, but this is one of the most resilient communities in America and one of the best police departments,” Lane said.
The grocery store sits in a strip mall near a Wendy’s and a Walgreens, across from Corky’s Ribs and BBQ. Forty-four employees were in the store when the shooting started, police said.
Collierville is a growing suburb of more than 51,000 people with a median household income of about $114,000, according to U.S. census figures. Set in a rural and historic area, the town square has largely become known for its boutiques and bed and breakfasts.
Glenda McDonald, who works in Kroger’s floral department, said she was not injured, but shaken.
McDonald said she walked out of the back office to the floral counter when she heard something that sounded like a gunshot.
“I just ran out the door,” McDonald said. “I left my purse, my keys, everything.”
She said she is not sure how many people were injured, but she believed she saw a bagger and some customers get shot before fleeing.
Cheryl Pagliaro, of Saulsbury, Tennessee, was gathering groceries when she heard what she first thought was a balloon go “pop.” At least 12 more pops followed.
“Oh no, these are gunshots,” Brignetta Dickerson, a cashier of more than three decades, recalled. She, too, thought the first noise was a balloon. The shooter followed her and a group of employees and customers through the store. One coworker was shot in the head, and a customer was shot in the stomach, she said.
Pagliaro was running. “Active shooter! Active shooter!” Pagliaro shouted to people along her path to a nearby gym.
The Memphis Police Department was on the scene, according to its social media.
Kroger, which has nearly 2,800 stores nationwide, has attempted in recent years to minimize potential gun violence in its stores. In 2019, the chain announced it would prohibit the open carry of firearms in its stores. It’s the country’s largest supermarket chain in terms of revenue.
“The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time,” Kroger said in a statement.
The company said the store will remain closed while the investigation continues, and employees are being offered counseling services.
The shooting in Tennessee comes six months after a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado shooting in a supermarket. The victims of the shooting at King Soopers, part of Kroger, included a police officer responding to the scene.
“This must stop,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted on Thursday.