Multiple people were shot and killed inside a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., on Tuesday night, the authorities said, shattering the routine of residents who were picking up supplies for Thanksgiving during a busy holiday week.
It was the second high-profile mass shooting in the United States in three days. The assailant, whose name the authorities did not release, was found dead at the store, Leo Kosinski, a spokesman with the Chesapeake Police Department, said in a brief news conference.
Mr. Kosinski did not say exactly how many people had been fatally shot, but he said he believed it was “less than 10.”
The police department responded to a report of a shooting inside the Walmart about 10:12 p.m., Mr. Kosinski said, about 45 minutes before the store was scheduled to close.
He added that officers who entered the store found “multiple fatalities and multiple injured” people.
Mr. Kosinski said investigators did not know whether the attacker was an employee. Mr. Kosinski added that he did not believe any shots had been fired by police officers.
“I mean, it’s sad, you know we’re a couple days before the Thanksgiving holiday,” Mr. Kosinski said.
Terri Brown, who lives nearby and shopped at the Walmart earlier in the evening, told a local television station that the store had seemed especially busy before she left it, about 20 or 30 minutes before 9 p.m. The holiday-shopping crowds had forced her to park far away, she said, and she saw long lines at checkout counters.
“People were being very friendly, talking about Thanksgiving — what they had to do, what they had to get,” Ms. Brown said in an interview with the ABC affiliate 13News Now.
In a statement early Wednesday morning, Walmart said, “We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia, store.”
“We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates,” the company said. “We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”