Virginia: Walmart survivor recalls shooting
Joe Biden has echoed calls for stricter gun control laws in the US after a Walmart employee shot dead six people before killing himself inside the store. The massacre in Virginia is the second mass shooting in America in the past few days and the 50th so far this year.
Now, the President has called out current regulations, which he says are “not nearly enough”, as residents living close to the scene of the atrocity in Chesapeake have spoken of their heartache – and anger – at the deaths of six members of their community.
One local, a grandmother-of-one, told Express.co.uk “no one should be allowed to have guns”, while another said even schoolchildren are living in fear of being shot.
President Biden released a statement in the aftermath which also referenced the shooting of three football players at the University of Virginia on November 13, 2022, just 10 days ago.
“Jill and I grieve for those families, for the Chesapeake community, and for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which just suffered a terrible shooting at the University of Virginia this month,“ the president said.
“We also mourn for all those across America who have lost loved ones to these tragic shootings that we must come together as a nation to stand against.
“This year, I signed the most significant gun reform in a generation, but that is not nearly enough. We must take greater action.”
Joe Biden has echoed calls for stricter gun control laws in the US after the Virginia shooting
Six people and the shooter died after the gunman opened fire in a Chesapeake Walmart
Those living in the city of Chesapeake, which has a population of around 250,000, awoke to news this morning that seven people were killed at the supermarket. Police later confirmed the gunman – an employee – was among the dead after turning the gun on himself.
He has not been officially identified as authorities are yet to contact his next of kin, Police Chief Mark Solesky said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, one local grandmother, who did not wish to be named, said her family regularly shops at the Walmart which has now become the scene of another mass murder.
She said: “People are scared – it’s not safe. This is where I like to shop all the time, especially around the holidays – it’s bad.
“My son likes to go [to the Walmart] late at night to get what I need. He will drive when I need something. I don’t think I’ll let him go there now.
“We should control guns better than this. No one should be allowed to have guns.
“They are everywhere. We need to control that – it is getting out of control.”
At least four others suffered gunshot wounds and are being treated in area hospitals.
It comes just three days after the Orlando shooting, and 10 days after the UOV shooting
A grandmother said ‘we need to control gun ownership – it is getting out of control’
Another local, who gave his name as Phil, said he was born and raised in Chesapeake and lives just nine minutes away from the Walmart. He also called for tighter gun control laws, telling Express.co.uk even children live in fear of being victims of a school shooting, given the many in the US each year.
The 31-year-old, who has a young niece and nephew, said: “It’s horrific, it’s very sad because I shop at that Walmart. It’s nine minutes from my house. It’s scary because it’s so close.
“I was heartbroken to find out about it – it felt like it was my family that was shot and hurt.
“There should be stricter gun control laws. Gunmen are shooting up schools – it’s really out of control.
“We should have tighter laws by now anyway after all of the school shootings. The kids aren’t even safe to go to school and learn.”
Phil said ‘I was heartbroken to find out about it – it felt like it was my family that was shot’
Police and FBI descended on the Walmart, after the shooting occurred at 10.12pm local time (3.12am GMT) yesterday (Wednesday).
Four others are being treated in hospital after being injured in the attack.
It comes just four days after five were killed and a further 19 injured when a gunman let fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado.
In 2022 alone, the US has also experienced more than 35 school shootings which resulted in injuries or deaths.
Democrat Senator Louise Lucas, for Virginia’s 18th District, said on Wednesday: “I am absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia tonight.
“I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives.”
Shannon Watts, founder of anti-gun violence group Moms Demand, said: “We don’t even have time to cope with one mass shooting tragedy before another one happens.
“I can’t remember them or when they happened or why. This is chaos.”
Sen. Louise Lucas said ‘I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this violence epidemic’
Chesapeake Police Chief Solesky told a press conference at 8am (1pm GMT) that authorities believe the suspect, who they could confirm was male and an employee at Walmart, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In June, President Biden signed into law the most significant US gun control bill in nearly 30 years.
It enforced tougher background checks and encouraged states to implement ‘red flag’ laws to remove firearms from people considered to be a threat.
However, speaking at the time, Biden admitted: “While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives.”