Suspect In Custody After Deadly Stop & Shop Shooting In West Hempstead

Authorities held a press conference to announce a suspect is in custody following a deadly shooting at Stop & Shop in West Hempstead.

Video Transcript

DANA TYLER: Patrick Ryder.

- Over the past several months, we in Nassau County have watched in our television screens active shooters devastate communities. But today, that reality came home to Nassau County. And our hearts go out to the families and the victims of this crime. Let's not forget there is someone who's dead now and there are two people in the hospital.

I want to thank our Nassau County Police Department under the leadership of Patrick Ryder. With incredible training, intelligence-led policing, the suspect was apprehended very quickly. Not a minute was wasted, all the while keeping our surrounding communities safe. So I am so proud of our police officers, of our detectives, who are professional, who are very well trained and got the job done for our residents. Thank you.

PATRICK RYDER: Out of all, and briefly again, how it went down this morning, and then tell you where we are as far as the arrest that was made. At 11:19, call came out for shots fired at the Stop & Shop down here on Cherry Valley.

When the subject had shown up to work today, he is an employee there, and his name is, again, Gabriel Dewitt Wilson. When he showed up to work today, he went straight down to an office on the second floor. At that time he shot a male and a female victim. Both of those victims are recovering now at a local hospital. And then he went down to a second office where he shot and killed one of the managers of the building. He then fled that location.

We came out to all of you, we gave you information of the description. Calls started to come in. We locked down immediately all of our schools in the area. The calls led us to 100 Terrace Avenue in Hempstead. A SWAT unit of BSO members got out there, were out with the patrol and the Hempstead PD. They surrounded the building. They went in very tactically to keep everybody safe that's in the building. The subject tried to flee down through the first floor. He was then apprehended both by the Hempstead and the Bureau of Special Operations here in the Police Department.

There are no injuries to anybody. The subject is now under arrest and the homicide investigation will continue. Again, as you heard from the County exec, too often we sit here and we talk about active shooters that happen around the country. Today it's in our backyard. We're going to do everything we can to help make sure that we prevent this from happening again. But it's the community that's got to come forward. This community has got to talk to us about people like Mr. Dewitt and tell us if there are concerns that he has, and then we'll go out and follow up and investigate that.

We'll have more on the story tomorrow after we finish what we have to do tonight, finish processing the scene, and our homicide guys do exactly what they do best and investigate the rest of this. Any questions?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Do you know a motive?

PATRICK RYDER: We do not have a motive at this time.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

He is a current employee. He does have a small criminal background. I don't have the background with me. He's also been taken once before as a mentholated here in Nassau County.

- Commissioner, are you requesting-- are you requesting federal help or assistance from the White House? President Biden? Have you been in touch with him?

PATRICK RYDER: So I got to tell you, we've been too busy trying to capture the gentlemen. We have reached out to the FBI, the NYPD. And let me tell you something, the NYPD is one of the greatest partners you can have in law enforcement. They've been very helpful with us with gathering information. The FBI, we will be speaking with them and the US Attorney's Office.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Did you find a weapon on him when you found him? What was his job at the supermarket?

PATRICK RYDER: So he was one of the gentlemen that collected the carts in the lot. The weapon is-- there was still more activity at 100 Terrace. It is secure. Everybody is safe. But we have to now conduct our search warrants at the location.

- What kind of weapon did have?

PATRICK RYDER: We don't know what is at that residence. Of course, he had a weapon when he was here. We believe it was a small handgun.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

I'm sorry?

- Was there a falling out on something that he was in?

PATRICK RYDER: We'll have more on that tomorrow. That's an ongoing investigation. We have to speak to our victims in the hospital. Obviously, they're recovering from their injuries and we'll speak to other employees.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Tell us about [INAUDIBLE].

PATRICK RYDER: So what we can tell you now is that he went straight to one office on the second floor. Both a male and a female were in that office. Both of them were shot. Both of those two individuals are recovering at a local hospital. He then went to the next office, where the manager was and he shot the manager and killed the manager. All on the second floor.

- Where were they shot?

- How long does that process take?

PATRICK RYDER: Ongoing. Within a matter of minutes it was over.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Were all the people shot employees?

- Were all the people shot employees?

PATRICK RYDER: All the people that were shot were employees. There was a lot of people shopping in the store, in the parking lot. The fifth precinct did an outstanding job getting those out, controlling that flow of people to get them controlled access, get their information and many of them are now witnesses to what they heard and saw.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- As far as [INAUDIBLE], you said that you received a call. Were they calls from witnesses?

PATRICK RYDER: We had numerous 911 calls of people from in the store and outside the store as the subject fled, and we received additional information throughout the day as the story went out, telling us that there's a possibility of where he could be. Several addresses were checked out. The one that turned out to be fruitful was the 100 Terrace Avenue.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Is that his home address?

- Is that his house?

PATRICK RYDER: He has multiple addresses. We're not sure where he actually resides.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- --his mental thing where you said he was picked up?

PATRICK RYDER: He was treated once for a mental health illness in Nassau County. That's all I have at this time.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Huh?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- How did he get out here? How did he get out here?

PATRICK RYDER: Get out here?

- Yeah.

- How did he leave? By bus?

PATRICK RYDER: We don't know how he got here today. We don't know how he left today. We know that he left on foot originally and then he went westbound originally on the turnpike.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- Thank you very much. Thank you.

- [INAUDIBLE]

- Thank you very much.

DANA TYLER: All right. An update, an important update on the shooting. Police getting the call just after 11:19 this morning at the Stop & Shop on Cherry Valley Avenue in West Hempstead. We just learned that the suspect has been apprehended. The police commissioner there of Nassau County telling us where they apprehended the suspect who is an employee. The suspect, Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, was captured at 100 Terrace.

This is-- and I just looked at the building. It's a big apartment building. 100 Terrace Avenue in Hempstead And police say that he did trying to get away, but he was apprehended.

Important also that the police commissioner detailing exactly what happened, saying that Wilson showed up to work. His job is organizing the carts in the parking lot. They say that he first, though, showed up to work, went straight to the second floor, went to one office and shot a male and a female. Went to the second office and shot the manager. The male and female are in the hospital we're told and that they were conscious and alert, so police could speak with them.

Again, this is all allegedly, obviously. Gabriel Dewitt Wilson is the suspect in this shooting death of one person and wounding two other people. And another thing, there were shoppers in the store. There were employees in the store who heard shots fired. And as we all live in this world, just, you know, can it happen here? No, it can't. And the County Executive Laura Curran and the police commissioner saying, yes, it can. It can happen in our backyard.

And of the mass shootings in the United States, Boulder, Colorado just March 22, 10 people shot in a grocery store, shot to death, including a police officer. That suspect in custody.

So again, the suspect in custody after an active shooter situation at a grocery store, West Hempstead, New York just after 11:00 this morning. He has been apprehended because of calls-- people calling in to police and letting them know they'd seen him. The commissioner saying that Wilson had a small criminal record and that he had been picked up by police for some mental health issue.

We will continue to follow this and have the latest news for you. Also, do not forget that we have learned that there is a verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. That information CBS News, of course, will be following all afternoon and we should know that verdict in about 40 minutes. So stay with us right here on CBSN New York, and CBS 2, and CBS News. I'm Dana Tyler.