Nov 23, 2022
Officials provide an update after deadly Virginia Walmart shooting Transcript
A shooter opened fire at a Chesapeake, Virginia Walmart late Tuesday, leaving seven people dead including the assailant, police said. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1 (00:00):
…Police Department. Thank you for coming out this morning. This is going to be our press update for the mass shooting that occurred at the Walmart last night on North Battlefield Boulevard. I’d like to introduce the person standing up here with me. I’m going to start on my far left. That is Mr. Commonwealth Attorney, Matt Hmel. Matt Common spelling, Hmel is H-M-E-L. Next to him with the State Police is Captain Greg Matthias. He’s the Division Commander for the State Police. Greg’s common spelling, Matthias is M-A-T-H-I-A-S. Standing next to him is Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan. Jim, common spelling, O’Sullivan is O’-S-U-L-L-I-V-A-N. Standing next to him Fire Chief, Ed Elliott, Elliot is E-L-L-I-O-T-T-. Standing next to him is Police Chief Mark Solesky, M-A-R-K, Solesky is S-O-L-E-S-K-Y. And then to my immediate left is our City Manager, Chris Price, common spelling.
Going to ask the City Manager to come up and give some remarks. After that, Chief Solesky is going to come up and give an update to the incident that occurred, and then after that we’ll take some questions for future updates. After that, we’re going to be posting to our city’s Twitter account, which is @aboutchesapeake. It’s the official Twitter account for the City of Chesapeake. So with that, Mr. Price.
Chris Price (01:31):
Thank you. I know it pains all of us to be together today on this day of incredible tragedy and unimaginable sadness. Chesapeake’s a wonderful place. We come together when times are good. We come together when times are difficult. I know that we’re going through very, very difficult days today and in the days ahead, but we will get through this. Mayor West was unable to join us today. He’s tested positive for COVID, but he has asked me to read a statement. “I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place last night in our city. My prayers are with all of those affected the victims, their family, their friends, and their coworkers. I’m grateful for the quick actions taken by our first responders who rushed to the scene. Chesapeake is a tight knit community, and we are all shaken by this news. Together, we will support each other throughout this time. Please keep us in your prayers.”
Before I turn it over to Chief Solesky, I’d like to make a few remarks. First of all, I’m very, very proud of the response of our public safety team and our other first responders, including those in human services and mental health. You hope a day like this never comes, but we train for it. We practice, we talk about it, we discuss, we learn lessons from other places. We try to put those lessons to get good use, hoping that those lessons will never have to be put to use. But it’s kept us in good standing today and hopefully will continue to do so in the challenging days ahead.
I also wanted to let everyone know that we as a city and a leadership team have been in very close communication throughout the evening with Mayor West and with the Chesapeake City Council. They’ve been fully briefed on everything that’s going on from our response to what’s moving forward in the days ahead, as well as Governor Youngkin and his staff, the Attorney General and his team, members of our federal and state delegation, several of whom are here today. And I want to let you all know that we are united in our support for the victims, their families, their coworkers, and our entire community. And we do ask that you pray with us for everyone impacted by this tragedy. And I’ll now turn it over to Chief Solesky.
Chief Solesky (03:46):
Thank you. Good morning. We are truly saddened at the tragedy that it took place in our community last night, and we are all praying for the family, friends, and coworkers of everyone that’s affected by this senseless violence. I want to say to them that your Chesapeake community is here for you and will continue to be here for you during the difficult days, months and years ahead. Chesapeake first responders are well trained for such incidents. They responded immediately and will continue to do the work of investigating and answering questions in the days to come. We also appreciate the multi-agency response we received. And I’ll now go over a timeline of events for you.
Our 911 dispatch center received the first call at 10:12 PM last night. The first officers arrived on scene within two minutes at 10:14 and entered the store approximately two minutes later at 10:16. The first responding officers entered the store and the scene was declared safe by 11:20 PM. I would like to express our sincere thanks for the immediate assistance we received from the Chesapeake Fire Department, the Chesapeake Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Virginia Beach Police Department, the Virginia State Police, the FBI, and the ATF.
While our investigation continues, we can tell you the following, six victims have died. Four victims are in area hospitals with conditions unknown at this time and the suspect is dead from what we believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Chesapeake Police SWAT team executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence, and with the help of the Virginia State Police, we cleared the house. We have reason to believe that there’s no risk to the public at this time. Again, while this investigation is ongoing, I’ll go ahead and take a few questions now.
Speaker 4 (05:53):
Sir, do you know the identity of the shooter? Can you tell us?
Chief Solesky (05:56):
We cannot tell you the identity of the shooter because his next of kin has not been notified.
Speaker 1 (06:01):
Yes, sir. Over here.
Speaker 5 (06:02):
And there have been a lot of reports that the shooter was an employee of the Walmart. Can you confirm that?
Chief Solesky (06:08):
Yes, we can confirm that.
Speaker 6 (06:09):
I’m sorry. I didn’t hear that, sir? I didn’t hear what he said.
Chief Solesky (06:13):
He wanted to know was the shooter and employee of Walmart and we were able to confirm that.
Speaker 4 (06:17):
Was the shooter in a management position, a supervisor?
Chief Solesky (06:19):
I can’t confirm that. You’d have to check with Walmart to be sure.
Speaker 6 (06:22):
Are you able to tell us what type of weapon was used, sir?
Chief Solesky (06:25):
A pistol. That’s all we are able to say at this time.
Speaker 1 (06:28):
Ms. Miller, did you have a question?
Ms. Miller (06:29):
Can you confirm or do you know if these attacks were targeted against any specific employees or if this individual was shooting at random?
Chief Solesky (06:37):
We don’t know at this time. The investigation’s still on ongoing, so there’s no clear motive at this time.
Speaker 1 (06:42):
Mr. Hall (06:44):
Do we know if the victims are also all employees?
Chief Solesky (06:46):
We can’t confirm that at this time.
Speaker 6 (06:49):
Sir, can you tell us what he was wearing, if there were any other accessories or ammo on his person?
Chief Solesky (06:57):
I don’t have that information. I’m sorry.
Speaker 1 (06:59):
Over here, Miss.
Chief Solesky (07:00):
Speaker 9 (07:01):
It was said that the shooting happened in the break room. Was the door locked behind this individual after the shooting started? I guess, can you share any more information about what happened inside the break room at that time?
Chief Solesky (07:14):
I cannot. Like I said, the investigation’s still ongoing. We’ll be processing that scene for days, so we’re really not sure and I’d hate to put out misinformation.
Speaker 1 (07:22):
Speaker 10 (07:23):
Was there anything you were aware about shooter’s background, anything that could say [inaudible 00:07:27] happened?
Chief Solesky (07:29):
No, ma’am, not at this time.
Speaker 10 (07:29):
He was not known to police?
Chief Solesky (07:32):
Not that I’m aware of at this time. Like I said, the investigation’s still ongoing.
Speaker 4 (07:35):
There were not other weapons aside from pistols that were used?
Chief Solesky (07:38):
Not that I’m aware of at this time.
Speaker 6 (07:40):
Sir, can you tell us approximately where in the store the suspect’s body was located?
Chief Solesky (07:48):
I cannot, not at this time. I didn’t go in the store myself. And like I said, it’s still being-
Speaker 6 (07:52):
But if he was still in the break room or if he had made this way throughout the store kind of?
Chief Solesky (07:55):
Yeah. I don’t know that at this time.
Speaker 4 (07:57):
Was there any bodies outside?
Chief Solesky (08:00):
I can’t confirm that right now.
Speaker 11 (08:03):
Just to confirm, the shooter was a male, I gather from what you’re saying?
Chief Solesky (08:07):
Speaker 11 (08:09):
And can you tell us the shooter’s age?
Chief Solesky (08:10):
I don’t have that at this time.
Speaker 1 (08:11):
Mr. Hall (08:12):
I was going to ask, was the shooter dead by the time officers found the suspect?
Chief Solesky (08:19):
As far as I know, he was, yes.
Speaker 1 (08:21):
Two questions here.
Speaker 5 (08:24):
First, I believe the first one said there were five, or we heard from Sentara that there were five victims in the hospital. Do you know if one of those people had been released since you said four?
Chief Solesky (08:34):
I don’t know that. I know there’s four there now.
Speaker 5 (08:37):
Okay. And then the other thing that I have, I’m hearing that the suspect may have been playing some type of loud, hardcore type of music. Have you heard that or been able to confirm that as he was going on this…
Chief Solesky (08:48):
I can’t confirm that at this time.
Speaker 5 (08:50):
Okay. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (08:51):
Speaker 12 (08:52):
You said that the scene was declared safe around 11:20. Can you walk us through a little bit of how the shooter was subdued? We’ve heard before that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Anything of that nature that you can walk us through?
Chief Solesky (09:04):
Yeah. As I said, at this time we believe it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Speaker 1 (09:10):
Speaker 4 (09:11):
You gave us the timeline of police response. Do you know for how long the shooter himself was active in the store before shot himself?
Chief Solesky (09:21):
I don’t have that information at this time.
Speaker 5 (09:24):
First, do you have the range of the age of the victims at this time?
Chief Solesky (09:28):
Speaker 5 (09:28):
And what happens next at this time?
Chief Solesky (09:33):
Well, the investigation is still ongoing, like I said. So we have to process the scene, which could take days.
Speaker 4 (09:41):
Do we know approximately how many customers were inside the Walmart at the time?
Chief Solesky (09:44):
I don’t have that information, no.
Speaker 4 (09:46):
But the store was open?
Chief Solesky (09:47):
Yes, it was.
Speaker 4 (09:48):
Was it going to close at 11:00?
Chief Solesky (09:50):
I don’t know that.
Speaker 12 (09:54):
Chief, witnesses said that the suspect was laughing during the time he was shooting. Can you confirm that?
Chief Solesky (10:01):
I cannot confirm that.
Speaker 10 (10:03):
Was there a security guard, a Walmart security guard there on the premises at all?
Chief Solesky (10:08):
Not that I’m aware of you. You’d have to reach out to Walmart for that.
Ms. Miller (10:11):
Can you tell us, sir, what city the suspect is from?
Chief Solesky (10:14):
I don’t have that information.
Ms. Miller (10:16):
The state maybe? Is he local?
Chief Solesky (10:19):
I’m sorry. I don’t want to give you misinformation. I don’t have it.
Speaker 1 (10:24):
Speaker 4 (10:24):
Was the shooter working at the time or was it a day off, he just showed up? Do we know if he was on the clock?
Chief Solesky (10:30):
I can’t confirm that. You’d have to reach out to Walmart for that.
Speaker 4 (10:33):
But he was a current employee, he was not a former?
Chief Solesky (10:36):
As far as I know, it was a current employee.
Speaker 5 (10:40):
And you may not be able to answer this as well.
Chief Solesky (10:42):
Speaker 5 (10:42):
But do you know if the Walmart is going to be closed? I imagine it’s going to be closed for some time?
Chief Solesky (10:48):
Oh, yes. While we process the scene, it’ll stay closed. We’re in cooperation with the FBI processing the scene.
Speaker 9 (10:56):
So the condition of the victims, the current condition, if any are critical or serious injuries?
Chief Solesky (11:01):
I’m sorry. Yeah. I don’t have that information. The condition’s unknown at this time.
Speaker 9 (11:04):
Ms. Miller (11:05):
Do you know if they’re all at one hospital or multiple hospitals?
Chief Solesky (11:09):
Area hospital is all I have. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 11 (11:14):
Is there a reason the next of kin hasn’t been notified yet?
Chief Solesky (11:17):
I don’t know why, whether or not they’re having trouble figuring out who is next to kin are and where they are.
Speaker 5 (11:29):
I guess the one you said that you don’t believe the community’s in danger. What leads you to believe that? What can the community know that there’s not any further threat I guess? Do you think this person acted alone?
Chief Solesky (11:40):
As far as we know now, yes. And that he’s deceased.
Speaker 1 (11:45):
All right. We’ll conclude that at this point. So any information going forward will be pushed out through our city’s official Twitter account, which is @aboutchesapeake.