MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday marks one week since the community of Collierville was shaken by a mass shooting at the Kroger store on Byhalia Road.
One person was killed and 14 others were injured in the shooting. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Uk Thang, took his own life.
In the Collierville Kroger parking lot Thursday afternoon, a steady rain fell on flowers and other tributes at a makeshift shrine to the victims of last week’s tragedy.
At about 1:30 p.m., Kroger employees and construction workers, who were there preparing the store for eventual reopening, gathered in the parking to observe a moment of prayer and silence for all those impacted by the event.
It was an emotional scene for one employee, who didn’t want to be identified but was working last Thursday when the shooting began.
“Very surreal. You know, you’re going about your business and you hear these noises, and you’re not sure what it is because you can’t really see it,” the employee said. “And then you see people starting to get down, and you hear screams, and then you realize something bad is going on and you get down on the ground and hide.”
The store remains closed, but there is a flurry of activity as Kroger employees and construction crews focus on getting the things back as close to normal as possible.
“The employees want to come back to their store, I know they do,” a Kroger employee said. “It might take a minute for some of them to be ok to come back, but we also want our customers to come back.”
Countless numbers of people, many who weren’t at the Kroger during the shooting, have been devastated by what happened. Cindy Lester is one of them.
“This is my local grocery store that I shop at two or three times a week, and I’ve just been broken over what happened last week, ” Lester said. “I just wanted to come and pray and just be here.”
Lester says this is more than a grocery store. It’s a gathering place for a community that will “rise above” the unimaginable trauma.
“The Collierville community is very strong and very faith based, and we’re going to come together and be ‘Collierville strong’ and pray, and we’re going to get through this,” Lester said.
Funeral services will be held for 70-year-old Olivia King on October 2. There are two victims still hospitalized, both in non-critical condition.