There was an “active shooter incident” in West Hempstead at a Long Island Stop & Shop grocery store, according to Nassau County police and the county executive.
The person of interest is Gabriel Dewitt Wilson. Police confirmed three people were shot and one died. The victim was a 49-year-old employee shot in an upstairs managers’ office, according to The New York Post.
Nassau County Police wrote: “There has been an active shooter situation at the West Hempstead Stop & Shop. The #NassauCountyPD is canvassing the area & nearby schools have been notified to lock down & secure their buildings. The subject has not been apprehended yet & we ask that area residents remain indoors.”
Laura Curran, the Nassau County Executive, imparted a similar message on Twitter, “There has been an active shooter incident at the West Hempstead Stop & Shop. Police are canvassing the area & schools nearby have been notified to lock down and secure their buildings. @NassauCountyPD is asking all area residents to remain indoors. Suspect is not yet apprehended.”
According to NBC New York, three people were shot and one person is deceased. That’s preliminary information as reports of the shooting broke out around noon on April 20, 2021. ABC New York reported that the gunman a gunman “walked into a Stop and Shop in West Hempstead and opened fire.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Suspect, Wearing All Black, May Have Jumped on a Bus
The suspect is believed to be at large and may have jumped on a bus to get away, according to NBC New York. The suspect’s name and motive are not yet clear. It’s also not yet clear whether the shooting was a targeted or random attack.
CBS New York reported the suspect was wearing all black and a mask.
5TownsCentral reported that the suspect might be a former employee who targeted store managers. However, police have not yet confirmed that information, and the victims names are not known.
The News 12 chopper was live above the scene. Police officers could be seen outside the store’s door.
The supermarket is located on Cherry Valley Road. According to ABC New York, the grocery store was evacuated.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement: “As the union for the brave New York grocery workers caught in the crossfire of this horrific shooting, UFCW is heartbroken and our prayers are with our members, their families, and the loved ones of all the victims. America’s grocery workers have been bravely putting their health at risk on the frontlines of COVID-19 every day to keep our families fed. This latest mass shooting is a tragic reminder that the pandemic is not the only threat these workers face. While we have rightfully focused on doing more to protect essential workers from the risks of the pandemic, more must be done by our corporate and elected leaders to address the epidemic of gun violence that threatens workers’ lives, and continues to infect more and more workplaces.”
The West Hempstead School District Was in a Lock Out
The West Hempstead School District wrote on Twitter: “Good morning. This is a message from the West Hempstead School District. We were informed by the police that there is activity in the area. We are presently in a lockout and we’ll inform you when it is over. Please do not come to the buildings. Everyone is safe. Thank you.”
The shooting reports come as the nation is reeling from a series of mass shootings, including at a tavern in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, and spas in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
People expressed shock on social media. “wtf the stop and shop in West Hempstead just got shot up .. that’s too close to home,” wrote one person on Twitter. “Active shooter shot 3 people 2 blocks from my house on long island. One dead. Shooter on the run. Stop and shop West hempstead,” wrote another.
The conditions of the injured people are not yet clear, but they were taken to the hospital. Police have not confirmed the exact number of people shot.
In a statement to NBC New York, Stop & Shop said it was “shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence that occurred at our store.”
“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 store 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.”