Police: Tenn. Kroger mass shooter worked for third-party vendor at store, motive still unclear

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 12:10 PM EDT
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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC/Gray News) - Investigators said the mass shooter at Collierville Kroger was a third-party vendor of the grocery store.

Police have identified the man as 29-year-old Uk Thang following a Friday morning news conference during which Police Chief Dale Lane said he would not share the name on camera because he didn’t want to give him the notoriety, WMC reported.

At this time, authorities have not released a motive nor have they said what type of gun was involved. The chief would not say how many rounds were fired.

Lane said 15 victims were shot, including Olivia King, who died. The gunman also died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ten victims were employees and five were customers. Lane said the surviving victims are in stable condition but many with serious injuries.

The chief said searches of the shooter’s vehicle and a backpack found with his body uncovered no booby traps or explosives. Investigators searched his apartment Thursday night, seizing electronics and other evidence.

Investigators are still processing the scene at Kroger. Lane said the response began around 1:30 p.m. Thursday when someone flagged down a police car and said there was shooting in the store.

“At the moment that went out, our sole priority was neutralizing any potential threat and putting ourselves between the subject and any potential victims,” said Lane.

Lane said the mass shooting is a terrible tragedy and the small town will likely never be the same, but he said many things went well, citing law enforcement’s recent mass shooting training. He said it’s the first time in his 34 years in law enforcement that he saw firefighters wearing ballistic helmets and vests.

“There were bloody people running out of that building, and there was not one blue uniform that hesitated,” said Lane.

The chief also said it was very obvious that employees and customers knew what to do: “Run, hide, fight.” They secured themselves in freezers, closets, hiding between pallets of groceries. “They did what they had to do,” he said.

On Thursday, Lane called the shooting “the most horrific event in Collierville history.”

The FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and neighboring law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation.

The Town of Collierville is holding a vigil at 3 p.m. on the front lawn of Collierville Town Hall.

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