Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 30, has been identified as a person of interest in the West Hempstead, Long Island supermarket shooting, which occurred on Tuesday morning. Authorities “believe” he was responsible for the shooting, according to NBC New York.
Wilson is a former employee of the West Hempstead Stop & Shop. The police confirmed that the suspect used a handgun to carry out the tragic shooting and is still at large.
The busy Stop & Shop became a chaotic scene on Tuesday as bullets began to rain on patrons. Three people were shot, and one was fatally injured, inside the managers’ office. The gunman then fled, and police suspect the shooter used a bus as his means of exit.
Cops then warned residents of the area to hunker down as police continue the search for the suspect. The suspect was wearing a black baseball cap and a black sweatshirt. The incident has been classified as an active shooter situation and nearby schools have been notified to lock down and secure their buildings.
About 100 people were in the Stop & Shop during the attack. As the loud gunshots were heard, many began to scream and panic, according to authorities.
A 49-year-old store employee died from their sustained wounds, and two more were injured but were conscious and alert. The two were taken to nearby hospitals, but none of the victims’ identities have been released.
Gabriel DeWitt Wilson was last seen running toward Hempstead Turnpike, according to NBC News. It still isn’t clear if the victims were targeted in some way. Wilson was a former employee of the Stop & Shop, and police are investigating all angles.
Stop & Shop made a statement saying executives were “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 statement 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.”
At least a dozen ambulances and police vehicles arrived at the scene on Cherry Valley Avenue where the Stop & Shop was located.
Liz Crew-Lee described the commotion moments after the gunfire: “Everybody seemed to start running out of the store, panicked and frantic.”
The incident marks another in a long string of tragic shootings. On Sunday, a 7-year-old girl was killed during a shooting at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Chicago. Many are taking to social media to express their dismay and disgust at the growing gun epidemic.