COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Officials released the identity of the gunman who opened fire at a Collierville Kroger.
Police identified 29-year-old Uk Thang as the shooter.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said Thang was a third-party vendor and not a direct employee of the store.
“One of the other things some of you have asked is was he an employee. He was a third-party vendor from Kroger,” Lane said.
JFE Franchising manages Snowfox Sushi kiosks. They sent FOX13 the following statement Friday afternoon and confirmed Thang was a franchise owner.
“We are shocked and saddened by the incident that appears to have involved the owner of an independent franchise within a Kroger store in Collierville, Tennessee. We offer our thoughts, prayers and support to everyone impacted by this tragic incident, and we are prepared to fully support the ongoing investigation.”
Chief Lane would not say Uk Thang’s name during Friday morning’s news conference but spoke about the investigation of Thang’s apartment about a mile and a half away from the Kroger.
Officials served a search warrant there Thursday night. Lane said one additional person was questioned, but no charges will be filed related to the mass shooting.
”The next thing we had going last night was CPD detectives and Sheriff’s SWAT and FBI response teams executed a search warrant at 885 Federal Ridge Road #102. Right now, the evidence that was taken from that location is being processed to include all electronic evidence,” Lane said.
Lane said Thang had previous misdemeanor arrests.
FOX13 went to the Collierville apartment complex where Thang lived.
People there said he kept to himself, he wasn’t unfriendly but he didn’t speak much.
One neighbor said he was a newcomer and hadn’t been there long. He said Thang would say ‘Hi’ and wave but rarely spoke.
”We never spoke with him. We didn’t have any interaction with him. Maybe in the last 6 months, he started here as a tenant,” a neighbor who didn’t want his face shown said.
Nobody answered the door when we knocked at Thang’s apartment but a neighbor said he did not live alone.
”He and one other guy who would come with him for 10 days, 15 days, to visit the house,” the neighbor said.
”Just to think that there is a murderer that stays 5 feet from us, he never gave off any indication that he was a murderer or that he would have done anything like that, but you never know where people’s minds are,” another neighbor said.
The neighbor said the day before the mass shooting Thang stopped him to talk about window tint on cars and said he didn’t want to put illegal window tint on his car. The neighbor described it as the same car a bomb squad wound up searching in the Kroger parking lot.
”Nothing alluded to the fact that he would have been a person who would have done that kind of act,” he said.
Friday morning, officials also updated the number of victims to 15, including a woman who was killed.
Ten of the victims were Kroger employees and five were customers, Lane said.
Lane said victims were found as the chaos unfolded hiding in freezers, closets, offices and even in between pallets of food.
The shooting began around 1:30 p.m. Thursday when the gunman opened fire inside the store before turning the gun on himself.
Forty-four employees were in the store when the violence began.
The victims went to hospitals across the area. Two have been released from local Baptist hospitals, officials said.
Six are still at Regional One. Three of them are in critical condition, officials said.
Collierville police will go back through the Kroger today with a forensics team looking for more evidence, Lane said.
Lane said his heart is broken for the victims involved in the tragedy.
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