Panic erupted at a Georgia Walmart that was the scene of an apparent murder-suicide involving a male and female who investigators say used to be in a relationship.
Hiram Police Chief Mike Turner said that the female was the victim and the male the assailant of the incident on Wednesday evening and that both were “younger people”.
Officers called to the scene found a man and woman both suffering from at least one gunshot wound. They were both rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Their identities have not yet been released.
“What it appears to be is a known-to-known shooting event where both parties knew each other. This was not an active shooter. This was one person who knew another person, there was some kind of former relationship,” he said.
“You can imagine, in there shopping picking up stuff for your family, when shots rang out. Not only for the victim herself, but also the other people in there, the fear that had to be instilled by this type of event.”
Witnesses told FOX5 Atlanta they ran for safety when they heard gunshots at the store.
“As soon as I heard the second shot, I ran straight for the exit because I heard the gunshot come from my left side, so I ran to the right exit,” witness Devani Lopez told the station.
“I ran straight for the car. I could see everyone running for their lives. Everyone was just so panicked and scared.”
Walmart said in a statement that it was “heartbroken” about the incident and was cooperating with the investigation.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.