Thursday's mass shooting at a Tennessee Kroger marks another deadly attack at the nation's largest supermarket chain.
In the latest incident in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, 13 people were injured and two were killed, including the suspect. Kroger is not saying whether the latest incident will lead to further changes.
In an updated statement on Friday, the grocer expressed grief and pledged to help authorities with the investigation into the shooting.
"We are horrified and heartbroken over the senseless violence that occurred yesterday at the Kroger store... resulting in the death of one customer as well as the assailant and injuries to several other individuals, including 10 of our associates and five customers," Kroger said.
Kroger confirmed reports the dead suspect in the shooting was a "third-party vendor."
The company praised "truly heroic acts that included associates, customers and first responders selflessly helping to protect and save others." It offered "thoughts, prayers and support to those impacted by this tragedy," including ongoing pay and counseling to workers.
Kroger said the store will remain closed while law enforcement completes their investigation. It referred further questions to local police during the investigation.
Kroger's reaction was similar to the one it issued after the Boulder shooting that killed 10 people earlier this year. That incident occurred on March 22 at its King Soopers subsidiary.
Besides Kroger stores, the grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano's, Fry's, Smith's, QFC and others. The company employs 465,000 workers.
Gun violence at its stores and elsewhere across America prompted Kroger in 2019 to change its gun policy. Other food outlets have also been the scene of horrific attacks, including the 2019 mass killing in Walmart in El Paso that killed 23 people.
Kroger's gun policy
In the wake of mass shootings, Kroger has changed its gun policies and sales practices.
In 2019, Kroger asked shoppers to leave their firearms at home. The change in policy came a day after grocery rival Walmart made a similar change. The previous policy had been to defer to state or local gun regulations.
"This is something we've talked about for some time – it's something our customers told us would make them feel safer if we did it," Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen told The Enquirer after the switch. "We're really just listening to our customers."
The policy change came months after a 2018 shooting in suburban Louisville when Gregory Alan Bush, then 51, entered a Kroger targeting Black victims, killing two. He later pleaded guilty but mentally ill and was sentenced to life without parole.
In 2018, Kroger said it would stop selling firearms and ammunition in the stores of its Portland, Oregon-based subsidiary Fred Meyer (which operates 132 stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington). At the time, the company cited declining customer demand for the decision.
Nearly half of mass shootings (45.6%) occur in business settings, according to a 2014 study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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