Man accused in deadly Stop & Shop shooting pleads not guilty to murder charges
The man accused of fatally shooting a West Hempstead Stop & Shop manager and injuring two others pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and attempted murder charges.
Police say Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, who collected carts at the store, walked into the location Tuesday morning, went straight to the second-floor offices and shot three managers of the supermarket.
Wilson then took off, according to police, and after hundreds of tips, he was found hours later at 100 Terrace Ave. in Hempstead, just about five minutes from the supermarket.
"We surrounded that building, we went in to keep everyone safe," says Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "He tried to flee and officers arrested him."
Police identified the man who was killed in the shooting as Ray Wishropp, 49, while two others -- a 50-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman -- are recovering after both were shot in the shoulder. The 26-year-old had just started her job at the store last week.
Police detailed Wilson's previous arrest history -- all of which occurred in the Baltimore area. They detailed an assault arrest in 2006, a narcotics arrest in 2011 and attempted murder charges stemming from an alleged "gun battle" where Wilson was shot in the head.
Police also say he has been taken in for mental health issues twice -- in 2016 and 2019.
When it comes to a motive, police described Wilson as a "troubled employee" who had been accused of making unwanted advancements toward females and aggressive disputes with other employees in the months prior to the shooting.
"Gabriel was a troubled employee," says Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick. "In the months previous to this incident he had unwanted advances towards females that were working there. He was having disputes with other workers and threatening them and was brought into the management office several times."
Officials say Wilson originally went to the manager's office at the store to discuss moving to a different store location in Hempstead. Wilson left without incident after the discussion, but officials say he returned less than an hour later to carry out the shooting.
Police say Wilson is believed to have used a semi-automatic handgun that he fired seven times. They were unaware if the gun had been acquired legally.
Wilson is due to appear in court again Friday. If convicted of the top count, Wilson could spend 25 years to life in prison.