Suspect in custody in West Hempstead Stop & Shop shooting that killed 1, injured 2
The suspect wanted in connection to a fatal shooting at the West Hempstead Stop & Shop is now in custody.
The suspect has been identified as Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, an employee at the store.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says Wilson arrived for work at the store around 11:19 a.m. and went straight to the second floor where he shot two people, a male and a female, in an office at the store. Ryder says Wilson then entered a second office where a 49-year-old manager was killed.
Sources say one of the injured victims is in critical condition and the other is in stable condition.
Shoppers inside the store at the time of the shooting were horrified.
"I don't think the reality of what happened has sunk in yet. I was in danger!" says shopper Barbara Butterman.
Ryder says the suspect then fled to 100 Terrace Ave. in Hempstead, which was later surrounded by Nassau’s SWAT team and Hempstead police. He says Wilson tried to flee from the building but was apprehended without injury.
The manhunt for the suspect prompted schools in surrounding communities to go on lockdown.
REACTION: 'Literally in my backyard' -- Shoppers process moments following shooting at West Hempstead Stop & Shop
Earlier, police had said Wilson, 31, has addresses in Hempstead and Long Beach.
Ryder says Wilson was employed at the Stop & Shop as a cart collector.
Patrick McGrath, who works in the store's deli section, was just arriving for his shift when he says a co-worker told him about the shooting and they ran out of the store.
He told News 12 that he heard from other employees that Wilson had been transferred from the Oceanside Stop & Shop location because of a "matter that happened" there.
McGrath says Wilson seemed "aggravated." He also said that Wilson told co-workers that he was shot in the head several years ago in Chicago.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran thanked authorities who helped apprehend Wilson and made a comment about the national attention surrounding gun violence.
“That reality has come home,” she said.
STATEMENT FROM STOP & SHOP:
"We are shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence that occurred at our store located at 50 Cherry Valley Road in West Hempstead, NY, today. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, our associates, customers and the first responders who have responded heroically to this tragic situation. At this time, we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement on the investigation. The store will remain closed until further notice, and we appreciate the Long Island community's support during this difficult time."
Curran says, "Our hearts go out to the families and victims of this crime."
Kelly Egan, an employee union rep, says the workers are extremely rattled by what happened.