Signs of resilience emerge in Collierville after deadly mass shooting

Memphis, Tenn — The community in Collierville remains in shock after a sudden crime caught many people off guard. However, there are early signs the town will recover.

Stretched across the Kroger sprawling parking lot on New Byhalia Rd., crime scene tape remains in place. A door remains open as well, freezing in time that moment of terror, where a lone police vehicle sat Saturday as an officer kept watch over what, before Thursday, was merely a busy grocery store.

It was just days ago a gunman, a disgruntled third-party contractor, had gone inside, shooting 15 people, and, in the process killing, Olivia King, 70, a mother of three.

Amid the resulting heartbreak, all over the close kit community, there are, too, signs of resilience. In the town’s square, kids played in the park; friends enjoyed a day in the sun; and down the street from Kroger, at Tony’s Trophy Room, a sign spells out, for all who see it, that spirit of hope.

“People around here are just shocked; they’re still in shock,” said Mike Miller, a Collierville resident of nearly 40 years.

That day, Miller said, he and his wife decided to eat out, sparing her a trip to the grocery store that would have put her at the Kroger at the same time as the gunman.

“If she would have been in there, I would have prayed she would have been okay,” Miller said.

Woods has called Collierville home for more than 20 years.

Both Woods and Miller struggled to comprehend exactly why such tragedy would strike in what many people have said is the last place they would expect it.

“It could have been me; it could have been you; it could have been anyone,” Woods said. “I just think there’s a lot of people under a lot of stress right now, whether it’s from covid or job situations.”

The community must not come together to determine how to heal its collective wounds.

“These things aren’t supposed to happen,” Miller said.