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Collierville Kroger shooting: gunman identified, number of victims now at 15

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said Friday morning the shooter has been identified as UK Thang, a "third-party vendor" at the Kroger store.

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Collierville Police released more information Friday morning on the deadly mass shooting at the Kroger on New Byhalia Road in Collierville.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the number of victims has gone up to 15 - 10 were employees, and 5 were customers. One person died, identified as Olivia King. Chief Lane said the others are still recovering.

Regional One said Friday morning that eight patients were brought there - not nine as originally stated. One died, one was treated and released, and six remain hospitalized - three of those in critical condition. Officials said three of the patients had to be rushed into emergency surgery.

RELATED: Kroger shooting victim identified

Regional One officials said a total of eight helicopters responded to the scene Thursday. Two of them actually made the scene, but all victims were transported by ground. Officials called the response "phenomenal," and said everything ran smoothly.

We are told one victim was rushed into surgery at Methodist Le Bonheur, and their condition is unknown at this time. Collierville Police said Thursday that one person also went to hospital with anxiety attack after being in the Kroger at the time of the shooting.

After the news conference with Collierville Police Friday morning, investigators named the shooter as UK Thang. Chief Lane said Thang was a "third-party vendor" at the Kroger store. Lane did not give Thang's name during the news conference, saying "I'm not giving him notoriety in this platform."

Lane did not say whether Thang had been recently fired. Investigators said Thang died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Chief Lane said they checked both the vehicle and a backpack that was on Thang at the scene for explosives, but none were found.

Investigators conducted a search at Thang's residence, which Lane said was in the 800 block of Federal Ridge Rd. He said electronic evidence is being processed from that scene.

Investigators were back at the scene at the Kroger first thing Friday morning. The store remains closed, and the parking lot was blocked off, with about two dozen cars behind crime tape as the investigation continued.

Police said about 44 Kroger workers and an unknown number of customers were at the store at 240 New Byhalia Road in Collierville about 1:30 p.m. Thursday when the gunman opened fire. People hid, some in freezers, before officers were able to make their way in and get them to safety.

Lane said Friday customers and employees did what they should: "Run, hide, fight." And he said there was no delay for medical attention for those who were shot.

RELATED: 'It first started in the deli' Witness describes shooting at Collierville Kroger

RELATED: Longtime Kroger employee recounts moments shooter shot co-worker, customer

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane called the scene "horrific" and one of the worst he's seen.

Friday, Lane said it was the first time he has seen firefighters entering a scene wearing ballistic helmets and vests. 

“Our team conducted active shooter training on June 4, 2021, with police from surrounding departments as well as the Collierville Fire Department. The training allowed our team to integrate the fire department personnel into response operations. This improved our response on September 23,” said Chief Lane. 

Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner said, “I want to give a special thanks to our first responders, our Police Department, and our Fire Department. They made us so proud with their response to this tragic event and we appreciate all that they do every single day.”

RELATED: 'It has been an emotional roller coaster'; Collierville PD, Kroger leaders deal with shooting aftermath

Kroger issued the following statement Thursday afternoon: "We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred at our Kroger store located on New Byhalia Rd. in Collierville, TN – a suburb of Memphis. The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to the individuals and families of the victims during this difficult time. We are cooperating with local law enforcement, who have secured the store and parking lot. The store will remain closed while the police investigation continues, and we have initiated counseling services for our associates. To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we are referring questions to the Collierville Police Department."

The Tennessee AFL-CIO said the Kroger employees some of its union members. President Billy Dycus issued the following statement:

"We are horrified by the images of yet another mass shooting in America. These scenes of violence and terror are even harder to process, because they took place in our own state at a Kroger supermarket near Memphis where some our United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) brothers and sisters work. While we still don’t know all of the details, we know that one thing is for certain: no one should fear for their lives or face this kind of horrific violence at their workplace or while shopping for groceries.

Like many other essential workers, the employees at this store have kept food on the tables of Tennessee families for the past year and a half. They have sacrificed so much and continually exposed themselves to a deadly virus when others were able to stay home. Now, their workplace has been devastated by violence. We grieve for all of those who were affected by yesterday's shooting and their families, especially our union brothers and sisters.” 

RELATED: Collierville Police calls for help from outside agencies during Kroger shooting