By Peter Szekely and Barbara Goldberg
(Reuters) -A gunman opened fire at a Tennessee supermarket on Thursday, killing one person and wounding at least 12 before taking his own life as people took refuge inside store freezers, police said.
Law enforcement officers swarmed to the scene just after the shooting unfolded at a Kroger (NYSE:) grocery in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, Police Chief Dale Lane told reporters.
“We found people hiding in freezers and in locked offices,” Lane said, calling the gun violence “the most horrific event that has occurred in Collierville history.”
The town is about 30 miles (50 km) east of Memphis in southwestern Tennessee.
Authorities offered no public explanation for a possible motive. Neither the victims nor the suspect were immediately identified.
WREG-TV reported the shooter was an employee who had been fired on Thursday, citing an unnamed law enforcement source.
Brignetta Dickerson, a Kroger employee, told WREG that she instructed fellow employees and customers when the shooting broke out to follow her to the back of the store and closed the door behind them, but the gunman followed them.
“He kept on shooting and shooting and shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and then shot one of the customers in the stomach,” Dickerson said, adding that the shooter appeared to have a military-style rifle.
“I’m a little shaky but I’m OK. I got God on my side,” Dickerson said.
The gunman, who was believed to have acted alone, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a parking lot outside the store, Lane said.
“We are waiting for some special equipment to search that vehicle as well as the property that is on him,” Lane said about two hours after the bloodshed, which erupted about 1:30 p.m. (1830 GMT).
Lane said some of the surviving victims sustained “very serious” injuries. All were taken to area hospitals, he said. WREG-TV said at least five were listed in critical condition.
Thursday’s violence was the latest in a string of deadly workplace mass shootings that have erupted in U.S. cities, claiming dozens of lives and leaving many more wounded this year.
Ten people were killed in March when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.
Kroger Co , a major U.S. grocery chain, issued a statement offering “our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time.”
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