Former Walmart employee Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, has been identified as the suspect who killed two Walmart employees and injured a police officer in a shooting on Tuesday morning, District Attorney John Champion said.
Abram has been charged with two counts of murder. Other charges may be added after the investigation is complete, Champion said.
He allegedly opened fire about 6:30 a.m. at a Walmart store in Southaven, a city just south of the Tennessee border, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department. In addition to the shooting, Abram also started a fire in the “baby section” towards the back of the store.
Cops were on the scene within three minutes of the initial 911 call and exchanged gunfire with Abram in the parking lot, Chief Deputy Macon Moore told reporters at a news conference late Tuesday morning.
One of the officers was shot, but he was saved by his bulletproof vest and was being treated at an area hospital. Champion said the officer is doing “much better,” but will probably remain at the hospital “for a while.”
Abram was shot twice and taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery. No update was given on his condition.
He will be held in Memphis until his health has improved enough to be extradited back to DeSoto County.
Champion confirmed that Abram had been an employee at the store and was recently fired. A few days before his termination, he allegedly had a knife in his belt that he showed to another employee. That employee called the cops and made a report.
“I assume that was probably one of the factors in him being terminated,” Champion said.
Police did not release any information about the slain workers as their families were still being notified, but FOX13 spoke with the relatives of the victims and identified them as store managers Anthony Brown, 40, and Brandon Gales, 38.
“These people were doing the same thing you and I do everyday — showing up for work in an attempt to provide for their families — and then became victims of a senseless violent act,” Moore said.
The chief told reporters that the entire Southaven Police Department underwent an active shooter training at a local school just two weeks ago.
“There’s no doubt that training saved lives today,” he said.
Greg Foran, president and CEO for Walmart’s U.S. stores, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of two valued members of our team,” the statement reads. “We feel tragedies like this personally, and our hearts go out to the families of our two associates and the officer who was injured. We are relieved the suspect was apprehended, and we appreciate the quick response of the local authorities and our associates.”
Champion said “weapons” were recovered from the scene, but declined to say how many or exactly where they were recovered from.
He said they were purchased legally and that Abram had no prior criminal record.
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