CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — President Biden on Wednesday mourned the victims of a shooting inside a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., noting it took place during the week of Thanksgiving.
Six people were killed when a gunman, who was an employee of the Walmart, opened fire on Tuesday night. The gunman also died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
“Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of our most cherished holidays that brings us together as Americans and as families, when we hug our loved ones and count our blessings,” Biden said in a statement. “But because of yet another horrific and senseless act of violence, there are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving. There are now more families who know the worst kind of loss and pain imaginable.”
Read the full statement from the president HERE.
Police say there were multiple counts of both dead and injured found inside the building, where the shooting occurred. A greeter on duty at the time told WAVY the shooting started in the back of the store. One person was also found deceased outside the front entrance.
The call reporting the shooting came in at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday, when the Walmart Supercenter was still open to the public.
Police Chief Mark Solesky confirmed the gunman was an employee at the store. He said the gunman used a pistol in the deadly mass shooting. The shooters’ next of kin has not been notified. They did not identify the gunman during Wednesday morning’s press conference.
Six people have died from their injuries; four remain hospitalized, Solesky said. The gunman died from a self-inflicted wound.
Biden also mourned the victims of a shooting at the University of Virginia earlier this month, when a gunman killed three people on campus.
He reiterated his call for stronger gun control laws after he signed a bipartisan gun violence prevention bill earlier this year. The president has long called for an assault weapons ban to be reinstated, which is an uphill battle with a Republican leadership in the House expected next year and a slim Democratic majority in the Senate in the next Congress.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that the president is optimistic a ban can pass.
“The president’s not going to stop until we ban assault weapons,” she said, while discussing the shooting at a nightclub in Colorado Spring, Colo., over the weekend.