Suspected gunman in Tennessee grocery store mass shooting identified as UK Thang, son of refugees

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COLLIERVILLE, TN– According to authorities, one person was killed and 14 others were injured in a shooting at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee. 

Police stated that the suspected shooter, since identified as 29-year-old UK Thang, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Thang was a third-party vendor for Kroger.

According to the Commercial Appeal, Thang’s family was from Myanmar, according to a family friend.

Both of his parents were refugees from the country in Asia that was formerly known as Burma. 

During a press briefing, Collierville Police Department Chief Dale Lane stated that a total of 15 people were shot, including 70-year-old Olivia King who died from her wounds. The other 14 individuals are in stable condition.

Lane added that 10 of the victims shot were Kroger employees and five were customers. Lane confirmed that Thang was a lone gunman. Thang had some minor charges in his criminal history. Lane said:

“I believe misdemeanor arrests, but nothing related to violence.”

The chief said that officials served a search warrant at the alleged shooter’s home at a local apartment complex, seizing electronics and other evidence. One additional person was also questioned.

NBC News reported that investigators believe they know the motive, but Lane declined to immediately reveal what may have sparked the attempted mass shooting. Lane said:

“We have a pretty good picture now, but that’s not something that I’m ready to release at this point. We need to make sure that we don’t do anything to compromise this investigation.”

The carnage was unlike anything the chief had ever seen. Describing a chaotic scene of people hiding in every corner of the store, Lane said in a statement:

“We all came to the scene and all went into that building and so it’s the worst thing that I’ve seen in 34 years. Coming out of, you know, like I said we were finding people all over the stores hidden. And in the freezers closets, you know, all over.”

The police chief praised workers and shoppers, alike, for their own life-saving actions as soon as gunfire erupted. Lane told reporters:

“As we entered that building, it was very obvious they, the employees and even the customers, knew what to do. It was run, hide, and fight. They secured themselves. They did what they had to do until we could get in there to help them.”

Collierville Alderman Maureen Fraser praised first responders, stating:

“…Many years of training was put to the test today and they did an remarkable job, it could have been so much worse.”

She added:

“Continue to pray for several others who were shot and are currently in surgery. Pray for the health care providers. Pray for the Kroger employees. Pray for Collierville!”

On Friday, September 24th, Mayor Stan Joyner said in a statement:

“This is, for the town of Collierville, I think going to be one of those ‘where you were when’ events. That’s something that’s a reality.”

Brignetta Dickerson, a cashier, told Memphis ABC affiliate WATN that she ran into a back room with customers. She said the gunman came in shooting, striking an employee in the head, a customer in the stomach, and an employee in the cheek. She added:

“All of a sudden, I went through the receiving department … and here he comes right behind us and start shooting and he kept shooting and shooting and shooting.”

Tawana French said she was heading into the Kroger that afternoon when she encountered people, including children, running out of the store. She said:

“A split second later, I hear gunfire. I ran, ran, ran before I could get to my car, which was not very far at all, I heard even more gunfire. Rapid succession, just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. I just wanted to get to a safe place.”

The suspected shooter’s car remains in the store parking lot. Resources were brought in to safely inspect the vehicle. Police plan to carry out search warrants at several locations, but Lane couldn’t divulge any information on where. 

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Armed citizen takes down active shooter outside fitness center, saving countless lives

September 24th, 2021

KALISPELL, MT – An armed citizen is said to have taken down an active shooter who murdered a fitness center employee earlier in September.

While initial reports indicated that the citizen who stepped in may have been a veteran, the man responded to those assertions saying he’s not a veteran – but simply “an American Montana man”.

According to reports, the incident occurred in the parking lot of the Fuel Fitness center at 1305 Highway 2 West at about 10:52 a.m. on September 16th.

The incident started off after 27-year-old Fuel Fitness manager Matthew David Hurley, along with his assistant manager Matthew Underhill, approached a vagrant sleeping in the rear parking lot to discuss a refund over an unused membership.

Apparently, the discussion became heated, as the vagrant was reportedly demanding more money than was being offered by the two regarding this refund.

When both Hurley and Underhill informed the vagrant that he wasn’t going to be offered anymore money, the vagrant allegedly said they were “going to die today.”

The suspect opened fire on the two employees, fatally shooting Hurley while Underhill was able to reach cover.

While this was going on, William Keck – a member of the fitness center – was going out to his car to retrieve his wallet. However, when Keck stepped outside, he heard the gunfire and another gym employee informed him that Hurley had been shot.

Keck then ran out to his vehicle to retrieve his firearm and told the vagrant to stop shooting – but instead, the suspect then allegedly turned his attention toward Keck and fired at him. Keck returned fire, striking the vagrant.

When the suspect was on the ground after being struck, Keck reportedly repeated commands for the suspect to stay on the ground and cease firing. Yet, the suspect fired off two more rounds, striking Keck once in the thigh.

After being shot, Keck retrieved his dog from his vehicle and went back inside of the gym to seek immediate care for his wound. By the time police arrived at the scene, they’d happened upon Keck and the suspect both suffering from gunshot wounds.

According to a statement from the Kalispell Police Department regarding their response, both the suspect and Keck were transported to Logan Health for treatment of their wounds. Keck has since clearly recovered, but the suspect was listed as being “in critical condition and remains under law enforcement supervision.”

When speaking about the incident to a local news outlet, Keck recounted what was going through his mind while engaging the armed suspect:

“The only thing that bothers me traumatically from this event was seeing Matt Hurley on the ground. In the exchange with him, I knew he had just killed someone. Who else is he gonna kill?”

Keck noted that if he had to do it again, he would, saying that having a firearm saved his life and others that day:

“My motto in life is to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it. I firmly believe in the right to bear arms, and this is an example why.”

When addressing initial reports that suggested Keck was a veteran, he took to social media to clear the air, writing the following:

“I am not a vet. I’m just an American Montana man who loves his country and community and was put in a spot where God used me to do what I could. I’m not a hero. I just did what I thought was right.”

Kalispell Police Chief Doug Overman stated that his department will not yet release the name of the suspect until formal charges have been handed down. He confirmed that the case has been submitted to the Flathead County Attorney’s Office.

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Subway employee suspended for defending herself against armed robber, pistol-whipping him with his gun

(Originally published September 14th, 2021)

ROCKFORD, IL – An employee of the sandwich chain Subway was reportedly suspended from her job after store security footage of her fending off an armed robber who tried taking her purse while she was at work earlier in September went viral.

Araceli Sotelo was at work on September 5th at approximately 10:30 a.m. when she was confronted by an armed male suspect who went behind the counter in an effort to rob the victim.

Video shared online shows Sotelo and the suspect get into a physical struggle after she was heard screaming “stop” and “he’s trying to rob me.”

During the physical struggle that makes its way into the lobby of the restaurant, the suspect drops his firearm – which Sotelo is able to quickly retrieve before the suspect could.

The suspect can be seen holding onto the victim’s purse while she has control of the gun, and Sotelo then cracks the suspect upside his head with the weapon. Reportedly, the struggle continued from there outside of the store and security cameras purview.

@yadalove07Share #fyp♬ original sound – Yada Love

The Rockford Scanner was the first news outlet to report the attempted robbery and share a copy of the video, which Sotelo shared a copy of that video to her personal Tik Tok account.

Sotelo’s mother, Sylvia Oviedo, shared an update via a GoFundMe account on September 8th, writing that her daughter was suspended after defending herself against the armed robber:

“My name is Sylvia Oviedo and over the weekend my daughter was robbed while working (alone) and she fought him off and he only took HER purse. Nothing from the store was stolen.

Her manager has now suspended her from work leaving her without a job after she heroically defended the store. My daughter now has a broken phone, no ID, no debit card and no purse and he (the manager) [refuses] to compensate her for any of it.”

Speaking to the local Fox outlet WTVO, Sotelo recounted the harrowing experience:

“He kind of just showed me his gun, and I was like freaking out like, ‘woah you can’t do that please leave, I won’t call the police.’”

“[He said] ‘give me all the money’ and I said ‘I do not have any money, like, I do not have any money.’ That is all I had and he was just like, ‘give me everything before I hurt you.’”

She explained how she used her weight and leverage to overpower the suspect, which she said after getting his gun, he tried offering her purse back in exchange for his weapon and clothes:

“He dropped it trying to hold onto my purse, and I end up pulling his sweatshirt off him and I was like ‘show your face, show your face, you are on camera.’ and he was like ‘here you can have your purse back just give me back my stuff.’

He wanted me to give him back his gun and his clothes.’ I just hit him on the head with it, that is what he was doing to me.”

Sotelo says it was after the footage was leaked online that her manager suspended her, reportedly telling her that the suspension will remain in effect until all traces of the store security footage have been wiped from the internet:

“I get a call yesterday it was like, ‘if every one of these videos are not taken offline you will be suspended,’ and then I texted them and I’m like ‘how long am I suspended for?’ They said till everything is removed online. I have no ability to do that.”

“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know.”

The robbery victim thinks that her manager is trying to conceal what happened to her that day:

“They did not want anyone to know, they wanted to be private that it happened to me and that I fought back, but I think they did that because they do not want corporate to know.”

A spokesperson for Subway didn’t confirm if Sotelo was suspended or not, highlighting that Subway locations are independently operated by franchise owners:

“We are deeply concerned about the recent incident at a franchised location in Rockford, Illinois. The restaurant owner and management are fully cooperating with the police investigation, and we request patience until that process is complete.”

“Every restaurant is independently owned and operated. We are in contact with the franchisee to better understand the situation and assist as needed.”

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