Olivia King was identified as the mother of three who was shot and killed by a gunman who wounded 12 people at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee. She was remembered for her sweet disposition, devout religion and love of family.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane confirmed in a news conference that the gunman shot multiple people. There are at least 13 victims, with two dead, including the gunman, he said. King’s family identified her as the victim who died.
“Everyone needs to be more like Olivia,” said Maureen Fraser, the vice mayor of Collierville, to The New York Times. “Kind, generous, caring, selfless.”
“It breaks my heart to have to stand before you today,” Lane said. Lane called it “the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”
The initial police dispatch audio, available on Broadcastify, said that there were “four gunshot victims” in the rear of Kroger by the dumpster, one person was “down near the deli with a gunshot wound to possible shoulder,” and “another party was down outside Kroger, with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and back.” The shooter hasn’t been named.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. King’s Son Wrote on Facebook, ‘No One Deserves This’
Wes King, Olivia King’s son, revealed on Facebook that she had died.
“Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that my mother has died to her wounds. I spoke directly to the trauma surgeon. She was shot directly in the chest. EMTs attempted CPR until the hospital. They tried to save her at the hospital to no avail,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I apologize for the graphic details, but this type of crime needs to stop being glossed over and sanitized. No one deserves this. We will continue to update family and friends with funeral arrangements and other news as it becomes available.”
He also wrote, “I cannot believe I am typing this, but my mother Olivia King was one of the victims today at the shooting in Collierville at Kroger. I normally don’t post publicly about Mom’s medical concerns, but this is obviously different. I don’t know much more than what’s being released to the public at the moment. I received a phone call while in a meeting from a stranger. He informed me that Mom was hit during an active shooting scene, and that I was marked at her emergency contact. She was breathing at the time he called me.”
According to King, “We please need prayers for Mom, for the rest of the victims, and as hard as it might be, that God might have mercy on the soul of the person who committed this terrible crime. We are on the road and trying to get home as quickly and safely as possible from Ohio.”
Witnesses told the Daily Memphian that the shooting “began in the deli area and described the gunman as having dark hair and dark eyes. Some reported that he was carrying a military-style rifle.”
The shooter is dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound, the police chief says. “The shooter is deceased,” he confirmed. “We believe that is going to be from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.”
Jennifer Casey, public information officer for the Town of Collierville, confirmed to the Commercial Appeal that there was an active shooter at the Kroger. She told the newspaper that there are multiple injuries but wasn’t more specific.
You can listen to the initial scanner audio here. It comes in the last few minutes of this audio file.
Memphis police confirmed that there was a shooting at the Kroger. “Memphis Police Officers are on the scene of a shooting at Kroger located at 240 New Byhalia Road in Collierville, TN to support Collierville PD. MPD is assisting with securing the perimeter and scene,” they wrote on Twitter.
2. King, Who Previously Worked as a School Secretary, Was the Mother of Military Veterans
The only pictures available on King’s Facebook page are photos showing her with her sons in military uniforms. “Thankful for the loves of my life,” she wrote.
The Commercial Appeal reported that, according to resident David Fraser, King was a window with three sons, including one in the Navy and one in the Air Force. She was a devout Catholic who had worked as a school secretary, the newspaper reported.
A friend wrote on Facebook, “Please pray for my dear friend Olivia King and her amazing sons and family. I will miss her terribly. Pray for our Town and all of our First Responders, many many years of training was put to the test today and they did an remarkable job, it could have been so much worse. Continue to pray for several others who were shot and are currently in surgery. Pray for the health care providers. Pray for the Kroger employees. Pray for Collierville!”
Video emerged from the scene.
Jason Lusk, who recorded videos, wrote on Facebook, “He shot off about 12 shots as I got to my car. My phone was in the car and I managed to video one of the shots and the police arriving.”
A woman wrote on his comment thread, “My coworkers brother was shot and air lifted. Her sister in law was grazed.”
Collierville is a community located in Shelby County that is a suburb of Memphis. Photos and videos showed a massive law enforcement response to the scene.
Thank you to Ms. Dickerson, 32 year employee of Kroger for leading your co-workers and customers to safety.
— State Representative Antonio Parkinson (@TNRepParkinson) September 23, 2021
In the scanner audio, an officer said, “contact every agency for mutual aid.” An officer said at another point, “I need more ambulances.” The Daily Memphian reported that one Kroger employee climbed on the roof during the safety, but the shooting all occurred inside the store.
3. King’s Family Requested That People Pray for King’s Soul & for ‘God’s Mercy on the Shooter & His Family’
Olivia King’s family released a statement to Fox 13.
“Our family is devastated by this senseless act of violence,” it read. “We ask that you pray for the repose of the soul of our mother, Olivia King. We also ask everyone for their prayers for all families and friends affected by the events today, as well as for God’s mercy on the shooter and his family. Thank you.”
Lane said the call broke out at 1:30 p.m. for an active shooter. Police arrived four minutes later. “As we entered the building, there were multiple people shot,” Lane said, adding that police went aisle to aisle, bringing employees out who were in hiding and helping the victims who were injured.
He said the suspected shooter’s vehicle was in the parking lot and police were waiting for additional equipment to check the vehicle.
Fox13 reported that its news crews witnessed “two medical helicopters touch down outside of Kroger,” and Collierville High School was briefly put on lockdown.
4. A Friend Described King as ‘So Very Giving to All She Knew’
A woman wrote on Fox 13’s comment thread of King, “This is a sweet lady that loved her 3 sons dearly, her sisters and brothers in TX, her church and friends. She was so very giving to all she knew. Rest In Peace Olivia. Your are with Jesus and your Greg.”
Glenda McDonald, who works at the Kroger, told The Commercial Appeal that she heard the gunshot and said, “I just ran out the door. I left my purse, my keys, everything.”
Brignetta Dickerson, a Kroger employee, told WKRN that she heard gunshots while working at the cash register.
“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting. And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach,” she told the television station. Her co-worker, shot in the head, asked for his mother but survived.
5. People Offered Prayers for Collierville on Social Media
People in Collierville wrote about the shooting reports on social media. “There’s an active shooter at the Kroger across the street from my job. I was literally just there getting gas,” wrote one man on Twitter.
“There’s and active shooter at a Kroger grocery store in a neighboring town. Please pray,” a woman wrote on Twitter.
A man wrote, “Local friends, stay away from the Collierville Kroger. Active shooter situation there. Pray for our community, please.”