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2 dead, 2 wounded in shooting at Walmart in Southaven

Shooting at Walmart in Southaven | Photo: MGN Online

Updated Article - Two people are dead, and a police officer and the suspected shooter were wounded in Southaven.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 9:50 AM

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — A gunman described as a disgruntled Walmart employee fatally shot two co-workers and wounded a police officer before he was shot and arrested Tuesday morning at a Walmart store in northern Mississippi, authorities said.

DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said 39-year-old Martez Tarrell Abram shot a Southaven police officer, who was protected by a bulletproof vest and suffered minor injuries. Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore said a second Southaven officer shot Abram, who underwent surgery at a hospital in neighboring Memphis, Tennessee.


Martez Tarrell Abram

Both the people killed were Walmart employees, Moore said. Employees told The Associated Press that the first was shot in the parking lot, and the second was shot inside the store.

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite described the suspect as a disgruntled worker with a grievance against his employer. Abram, a Southaven resident, had been suspended from the store in recent days after he showed a knife to a co-worker. A police report had been filed, but Champion said Abram didn't appear to have threatened the co-worker and criminal charges weren't being pursued.

"It wasn't an accident," said Travis Jones, an overnight stocker who was working when he heard shots. "He knew what he was doing when he came in there."

Jones said he saw the body of store manager Anthony Brown on the floor as they ran out of the store. "It was an ugly scene," he said. DeSoto County Coroner Joshua Pounders said the 40-year-old Brown, an Olive Branch resident, appears to have died from a gunshot wound.

Nicholas Gales said the other slain worker was his brother, 38-year-old Brandon Gales of Hernando. Jones called Brandon Gales his best friend and an "all-around good guy," saying he was the father of multiple children.

The shooting at about 6:30 a.m. brought a massive police response to the shopping complex, at a busy exit off Interstate 55 in Southaven, a suburb of 55,000 people.

"Our police really showed their guts today," Musselwhite said, noting Southaven officers recently undertook active shooter training, "If it hadn't been for their efforts there would have been more lives lost."

Carlos Odom, 35, had just made his usual visit to his cousin, who works at the Walmart on Tuesday, and said he was leaving when he heard more than a dozen shots.

"I just hear gunshots," Odom said. "Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow."

"When the cops run into the Walmart, you hear more gunshots," Odom said. "After that, it stopped."

Phil Cox, 70, said he had just bought some nasal spray and was in the parking lot when he thought he heard a gunshot, and then saw a man who may have been the shooter run into the store. He got into his truck to leave as police began arriving.

"Everything went crazy at that point," Cox said, expressing sympathy for employees. "It's just hard to believe what happened here, but it seems like it's happening everywhere."

Champion said police had recovered multiple weapons and a vehicle and searched Abram's apartment. He said Abram had purchased guns legally, although he didn't describe them, and said Abram had no prior criminal record. He said investigators were also reviewing video recordings.

Investigators also believe Abram set a fire in the store. Champion said charges could be upgraded or more charges added after the investigation concludes.

"I feel extremely confident we'll have a very prosecutable case," Champion said.

No one answered the door at an address listed for Abram on Tuesday afternoon. Some neighbors at the apartment complex about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the shooting scene said they did not know him.

Moore said about 60 employees were working at the time. They were taken to the parking lot of an adjoining Chili's restaurant and interviewed by officers, remaining there for hours. Some embraced, while one was placed in an ambulance. Others gathered in a circle to pray. Finally, authorities brought employees back into the store after noon, spoke to them and released them to go home. The store remained closed, even as businesses operated as usual elsewhere on the high-traffic suburban strip.

"The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of two valued members of our team," Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "We feel tragedies like this personally, and our hearts go out to the families of our two associates and the officer who was injured."

The company is relieved the suspect was apprehended, and appreciates the quick response by authorities and its employees, Foran said.

"We'll continue to focus on assisting law enforcement in their investigation and on supporting our associates," he added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6289144
Lamar613384
Lafayette6072117
Washington5291133
Bolivar4776129
Oktibbeha457197
Panola4458103
Pearl River4437141
Warren4299119
Marshall4286102
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4062132
Union404675
Neshoba4005176
Lincoln3886109
Hancock373385
Leflore3471124
Sunflower331589
Tate325384
Pike3215105
Scott311472
Yazoo305069
Alcorn299465
Itawamba297877
Copiah293965
Coahoma290479
Simpson289586
Tippah285168
Prentiss276659
Marion266279
Leake261773
Wayne261541
Grenada256484
Covington255280
Adams246982
Newton245761
George238547
Winston226081
Tishomingo222567
Jasper220048
Attala213673
Chickasaw205457
Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
Humphreys94632
Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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