A man in black walked into an office area on the upper floor of a Stop & Shop in Long Island late Tuesday morning and shot three people, one of whom was killed, in the town of West Hempstead before escaping the scene.
Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, a 30-year-old man who police say he “believed” to be responsible for the 11:20 am shooting at the Cherry Valley Avenue store, was found around 15 April after a four-hour police maneuver : 12:00 am Detained Confirmed.
Details of his arrest were not immediately known.
Police said witnesses reported seeing Wilson flee the area with a small pistol after the gun attack. Earlier, a senior police officer said he may have got on a bus to escape. He was last seen heading west.
Wilson has working relationships with Stop & Shop, but it’s not clear if he currently works at the West Hempstead site, investigators said. Both a Stop & Shop employee and Wilson’s New York uncle told News 4 that the suspect was working outside the store, moving shopping carts.
Police officers would not speculate on a possible motive when asked about the workplace connection on Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the victims were being targeted, but all appeared to be Stop & Shop employees, investigators said. The victim who died was a man around 49 years old. Two other victims were taken to hospitals; They are designed to be aware, vigilant, and assist law enforcement. Her identity was not disclosed and the nature of her injuries was unknown.
The West Hempstead School District confirmed that its schools were in a “lockout” and urged the public not to come to its buildings. A Nassau county spokeswoman said police are urging all residents to stay indoors.
In a statement, Stop & Shop said it was “shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence in our store”.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, our employees, customers and first responders who responded heroically to this tragic situation,” the statement continued. “We are currently fully cooperating with the local law enforcement agency on the investigation. The business will remain closed until further notice and we appreciate the support of the Long Island community during this difficult time.”
The video of the scene showed at least a dozen ambulances and police vehicles gathering outside the store on Cherry Valley Avenue. A few hundred shoppers are said to have been in the supermarket at the time of the shooting. Nassau police stopped to interview as many as possible and identify strong potential witnesses.
A woman who had just pulled into the parking lot to do her shopping said she walked through the door when people running out told her it had shot.
“Everyone seemed to be running out of the store in a panic and frantic manner,” Liz Crew-Lee told News 4 of the unrest after the exchange of fire.
Law enforcement agencies with direct knowledge of the investigation report that News 4 Wilson previously lived in Reisterstown, Maryland, in Baltimore County.
He had previously been arrested there for assault in 2006 and had a number of marijuana busts, according to sources. Details of the cases and possible convictions were not immediately clear. According to sources, Wilson lived in Maryland at least 2010.
The Wilson News 4 uncle he spoke to described his nephew as a good kid who could be a “hothead”. He said he just hoped he would be taken into custody alive.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York State is following developments closely.
“The New York State Police have been instructed to assist local authorities in finding the culprit, and my team and I are in constant contact with first responders,” said the governor. “I pray for the victims and my heart breaks for their families and loved ones.”
John R. Durso, president of Local 338 RWDSU / UFCW, who represents many workers at West Hempstead Stop & Shop, said the union was “devastated” by Tuesday’s shooting.
“Our thoughts go with the victims, their loved ones and all those, including workers and customers, who witnessed today’s horrific events. Our priority is and remains the physical and mental well-being of our members,” Durso said in a statement. “Representatives from our union are on site at Stop & Shop and will ensure our members have all the support they need, including access to advice. We encourage our members to reach out to us to accomplish anything they need need in this difficult time. “”
“The workers at Stop & Shop are key contributors and have made sure that all of our communities, including West Hempstead, have what they need to cope with the pandemic,” added Durso. “Last year has been a year of resilience, but also of great concern. These workers have been through a tremendous amount and should never have to fear for their safety. We as a society need to recognize that gun violence is a workplace safety issue, and that we need to make changes as part of that healing to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We owe it to our essential workers. “