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(WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.) — One employee was killed and two others were injured in a shooting allegedly carried out by a “troubled” coworker at an office of a Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, police said.
The victim who died was a 49-year-old man who worked as a manager, police said.
The survivors were a 50-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, police said. Both are recovering in the hospital, police said Wednesday.
The suspect, Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, is in custody.
Wilson, 31, was a “troubled employee” who in previous months allegedly made “unwanted advances” toward a female coworker, police said at a news conference Wednesday. Wilson also allegedly had disputes with coworkers; some complained he was “threatening,” police said.
Wilson’s job was to collect carts in the supermarket lot, police said.
On Tuesday morning, Wilson allegedly went into the office and spoke to a manager about transferring to another Stop & Shop store, police said.
Wilson was non-confrontational in that conversation, but then allegedly returned to the building 40 minutes later and opened fire, police said
Wilson came back at 11:19 a.m. and went straight to a second-floor office where he allegedly shot the man and woman who survived, police said. He then allegedly went to another office where he shot and killed a manager, police said.
Wilson allegedly fired seven times at five different people, police said.
A couple hundred shoppers were in the store at the time, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
Wilson fled the scene and was apprehended Tuesday afternoon following an hours-long search.
During the search, authorities asked residents to stay indoors as they canvassed the area. The West Hempstead School District was on a “lock out,” meaning people weren’t allowed into school buildings.
Wilson was previously arrested for assault, attempt to distribute narcotics, attempted murder and possession of a firearm, police said.
Wilson has also been the subject of two mental health crisis calls, police said.
Wilson was charged with second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, police said. He was arraigned Wednesday and remanded, prosecutors said. He will return to court on Friday.
Police noted that this shooting came on the anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting.
“We are shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence,” Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop, said in a statement.
“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,” he said. “At this time, we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement on the investigation. The store will remain closed until further notice, and we appreciate the Long Island community’s support during this difficult time.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement: “I’m praying for the victims, and my heart breaks for their families and loved ones.”
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