One Stop & Shop employee is dead and another two were hospitalized after a shooting at a busy West Hempstead, N.Y., store, police said.
The violence marked yet another deadly public shooting in a public retail site amid a spate of gun violence nationwide. A shooter at a Boulder, Colo., King Soopers store on March 22 killed 10 people, including shoppers, employees and a responding officer. Days before that, three people, including the suspected gunman, were killed in a shooting at Kroger’s Roundy’s distribution center in Oconomowoc, Wis.
The victims of the shooting, including a 49-year-old who was killed, were not immediately revealed.
Initial reports indicated the suspect in West Hempstead may have been a former Stop & Shop employee, identified by police as Gabriel DeWitt Wilson. Wilson was apprehended late Tuesday.
Reports said the shooting happened in the manager’s office on an upper level of the Stop & Shop while the store was open Tuesday morning.
Stop & Shop workers at this store are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342 and by RWDSU/UFCW Local 338.
The UFCW said it was calling on state and federal leaders for action to prevent future tragedies like this from further endangering essential workers already facing COVID risks on the pandemic’s frontlines.
“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,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement.
“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.”
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