The suspected gunman has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Collierville police chief Dale Lane told reporters on Thursday.
The victims’ injuries range from minor to very serious, according to FOX 13 Memphis. The shooting was reported at about 1.30pm, with the first police officers arriving four minutes later. A SWAT team swept the aisles of the store, finding and evacuating employees who were hiding in freezers and locked closets.
“This is the most horrific event to happen in Collierville history,” chief Dale told reporters.
At least four of the injured victims are in a critical condition.
One of those harmed in the shooting, who was rushed to Collierville Baptist Memorial Hospital, has since been discharged, Fox 13 reported.
“I was walking back towards the floor department and I heard a gunshot,” Glenda McDonald, a Kroger employee, told the network, appearing visibly shaken. “It sounded like it was coming from the deli. I ran out the front door, and they had already shot the front door.”
“Several people did get shot, some customers and employees, too,” she added.
Police believe they have identified the shooter’s car, but are waiting for machinery to safely inspect it. The FBI also confirmed it has agents on the scene.
Police also rescued a Kroger worker from the roof of the building, while others were found hiding in freezers and offices scattered throughout the facility. Chief Lane said the shooter had not used a high-powered rifle but declined to give more information about a reported altercation before the shooting. Local media, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, have said a high-powered rifle was in fact used in the shooting, which reportedly began near the deli aisle.
He said: “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.”
Collierville High School was briefly put under lockdown, which has since been lifted. Two medical helicopters landed outside the Kroger to help the casualties.
Collierville is a satellite town about 40 minutes' drive from Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee, with about 44,000 residents as of the last census.
“Prayers for all involved,” Tennessee state senator Raumesh Akbari wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Such a scary situation. Thankful for law enforcement officers who are securing the scene and working to keep folks safe.”
Local, county, and federal law enforcement teams are now scouring the store for evidence, a complicated task, according to the Collierville police chief.
“That crime scene is huge,” he told reporters on Thursday.
In March, the Tennessee General Assembly approved a permit-less gun carry law, allowing most adults in the state to possess a handgun without getting a permit.
Authorities have not confirmed what kind of weapon the shooter used, or how they obtained it.
Police are expected to address the public again later this evening.
In March, a mass shooting occurred at a Kroger subsidiary, King Soopers, in Boulder, Colorado, where 10 people were killed.