One employee died and two others were injured when a gunman opened fire in a manager’s office at a Stop & Shop grocery store in New York, according to the Nassau County Police Department.
Authorities said another employee, identified as 31-year-old Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, walked into the second-floor office at the West Hempstead Stop & Shop around 11 a.m. on Tuesday and opened fire on five people. He was arrested Tuesday to face one count of second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder in the shooting.
Update 1:15 p.m. ET April 21: Authorities identified the man slain when a gunman opened fire in a manager’s office Tuesday at the West Hempstead Stop & Shop as Ray Wishropp, 49, a manager at the store.
Police said the two other people injured in Tuesday’s shooting were a 50-year-old man who was shot three times and a 26-year-old woman. The 50-year-old man was shot once in the face, with the bullet grazing his cheek, and twice in the shoulder, officials said. The 26-year-old woman was shot a single time in the shoulder.
Authorities arrested Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 31, on second-degree murder and attempted murder charges in connection to the incident. Police said he had visited the manager’s office about 40 minutes before the deadly shooting and asked about the process to transfer to another Stop & Shop location.
Officials described Wilson as a “troubled employee” who was making “unwanted advances” toward a female co-worker in the weeks before Tuesday’s shooting. Police said he also had “disputes with other co-workers.”
Wilson also had a criminal history, including a 2014 arrest for what authorities described as a “gun battle” in Baltimore.
“He was shot in the head,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “He was arrested for attempted murder second and possession of a firearm. I don’t know the outcome of that case -- it is still ongoing -- but he was out in the streets here in Nassau County.”
Update 5:03 p.m. EDT April 20: Stuart Appelbaum, a spokesperson for Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, called for “critical and sensible gun reform.”
“What happened today is something no worker should ever have to face, a gunman in their workplace,” Applebaum said. “We are long overdue for critical and sensible gun reform in the United States that ensures no one ever has to endure what our members endured today.
“No worker should have to worry about whether or not they will go home to their families at night, and tonight sadly, someone won’t be going home. That is unconscionable,” Applebaum added. “It will take a long time to heal from today’s tragedy. Our members have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for over a year, they have already endured too much, and we cannot and will not stand for senseless gun violence in their workplaces. We can, and we must ensure workers are safe at work.”
Update 4:53 p.m. EDT April 20: In a statement, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said it was “heartbroken” by Tuesday’s shooting. “Grocery workers put their health at risk daily on the frontlines of #COVID. This is a reminder the pandemic isn’t the only threat they face.”
Update 3:20 p.m. ET April 20: Nassau County police confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a suspect in Tuesday’s deadly shooting at the West Hampstead Stop & Shop has been taken into custody.
“Our thoughts are with those who were killed and injured today,” police said in a statement posted on social media.
Update 3:15 p.m. ET April 20: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said a suspect has been taken into custody following Tuesday morning’s deadly shooting at the West Hampstead Stop & Shop.
Update 2:20 p.m. ET April 20: Officials with a union group that represents employees of the West Hampton Stop & Shop said Tuesday that they were “devastated” to hear shooting reported earlier in the day.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and all those, including workers and customers, who witnessed today’s horrifying events,” officials with Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said in the statement. “Our priority is and always will be the physical and mental well-being of our members.”
Union representatives were at the Stop & Shop on Tuesday to ensure “that our members have all the support they need, including access to counseling.”
“The working people at Stop & Shop are essential workers and ensured that all of our communities, including West Hempstead, had what they needed to navigate the pandemic,” the statement said. “The last year has been one full of resiliency, but also one of great worry. These workers have been through a tremendous amount and should never have to fear for their safety. We as a society must recognize that gun violence is a workplace safety issue and that as part of this healing, we must make changes to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We owe it to our essential workers.”
Update 1:10 p.m. ET April 20: Police declined to immediately identify the Stop & Shop employee killed and the two wounded in Tuesday morning’s shooting in West Hempstead, citing the need to notify next of kin.
Update 1 p.m. ET April 20: Police have identified a person of interest suspected of opening fire on three people at the Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead on Tuesday morning.
Officials said Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 30, was an employee of the store. It was not immediately clear whether he was still employed by the supermarket before Tuesday’s shooting.
Authorities asked that anyone who sees Wilson immediately call 911.
Update 12:50 p.m. ET April 20: Nassau County police said a Stop & Shop employee was shot and killed on Tuesday morning and two others were injured when a gunman opened fire in an upstairs area that houses the manager’s office.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference Tuesday. “We don’t know the reason for the shooting.”
Update 12:45 p.m. ET April 20: Police told The Associated Press that one person died and two others were injured in the shooting reported Tuesday at a Long Island Stop & Shop.
Original report: “Nearby schools have been notified to lock down and secure their buildings,” police said in a social media post. “The subject has not been apprehended yet and we are asking area residents to remain indoors.”
Authorities responded to reports of the shooting around 11 a.m., according to WCBS-TV.
Shopper Liz Crew-Lee told WNBC that she was met with people running in the opposite direction while walking into the Stop & Shop on Tuesday morning.
“Everybody seemed to start running out of the store, panicked and frantic,” she said.
Employees told WCBS-TV that they heard gunshots on the upper level of the supermarket, where the manager’s office is located.
In a statement obtained by the news station, officials with Stop & Shop said they were “shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence.”
“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,” the statement 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.”
Check back for updates to this developing story.
Cox Media Group