Stop & Shop suspected shooter was a 'troubled employee,' police said

EMILY SHAPIRO and AARON KATERSKY
·3 min read

One employee was killed and two others were injured in a shooting allegedly carried out by a "troubled" coworker at an office of a Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, police said.

The victim who died was 49-year-old Ray Wishropp, who worked as a manager, police said.

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The survivors were a 50-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, police said. Both are recovering in the hospital, police said Wednesday.

PHOTO: Law enforcement officers stand on the site of a shooting, at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers stand on the site of a shooting, at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Police cars are seen on the site of a shooting, at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Police cars are seen on the site of a shooting, at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The suspect, Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, is in custody.

Wilson, 31, was a "troubled employee" who in previous months allegedly made "unwanted advances" toward a female coworker, police said at a news conference Wednesday. Wilson also allegedly had disputes with coworkers; some complained he was "threatening," police said.

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Wilson's job was to collect carts in the supermarket lot, police said.

On Tuesday morning, Wilson allegedly went into the office and spoke to a manager about transferring to another Stop & Shop store, police said.

Wilson was non-confrontational in that conversation, but then allegedly returned to the building 40 minutes later and opened fire, police said

PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the place where the shooter allegedly barricaded himself, after a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the place where the shooter allegedly barricaded himself, after a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Emergency service personnel work at the scene of a shooting at a Stop & Shop supermarket, April 20, 2021, in West Hempstead, N.Y. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
PHOTO: Emergency service personnel work at the scene of a shooting at a Stop & Shop supermarket, April 20, 2021, in West Hempstead, N.Y. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Wilson came back at 11:19 a.m. and went straight to a second-floor office where he allegedly shot the man and woman who survived, police said. He then allegedly went to another office where he shot and killed a manager, police said.

Wilson allegedly fired seven times at five different people, police said.

PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store in West Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers guard the scene of a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store in West Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

A couple hundred shoppers were in the store at the time, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

Wilson fled the scene and was apprehended Tuesday afternoon following an hours-long search.

PHOTO: Gabriel DeWitt Wilson seen here in this undated photo released by the Nassau County Police Department as a person of interest in a shooting at a Stop & Shop, April 20, 2021, in West Hempstead, NY. (Nassau County Police Department via Twitter)
PHOTO: Gabriel DeWitt Wilson seen here in this undated photo released by the Nassau County Police Department as a person of interest in a shooting at a Stop & Shop, April 20, 2021, in West Hempstead, NY. (Nassau County Police Department via Twitter)

During the search, authorities asked residents to stay indoors as they canvassed the area. The West Hempstead School District was on a "lock out," meaning people weren't allowed into school buildings.

PHOTO: Law enforcement officers stand near the place where the shooter allegedly barricaded himself, after a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
PHOTO: Law enforcement officers stand near the place where the shooter allegedly barricaded himself, after a shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store, in Hempstead, New York, April 20, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The gun has not been recovered, police said.

Wilson was previously arrested for assault, attempt to distribute narcotics, attempted murder and possession of a firearm, police said.

Wilson has also been the subject of two mental health crisis calls, police said.

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Wilson was charged with second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, police said. He was arraigned Wednesday and remanded, prosecutors said. He will return to court on Friday.

PHOTO: Police respond to the scene of a shooting at a Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (WABC via AP)
PHOTO: Police respond to the scene of a shooting at a Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead, N.Y., April 20, 2021. (WABC via AP)

Police noted that this shooting came on the anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting.

"We are shocked and heartbroken by this act of violence," Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop, said in a statement.

"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," he said. "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."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement: "I'm praying for the victims, and my heart breaks for their families and loved ones."

Stop & Shop suspected shooter was a 'troubled employee,' police said originally appeared on abcnews.go.com