by: April Thompson
COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Uk Thang, 29, was identified as the gunman at the Collierville Kroger shooting. Police say he took his life as police closed in a few minutes after the shooting began.
Police confirmed his identity Friday without saying his name, instead holding up the written words on a legal pad to avoid giving him any notoriety.
He was a third party vendor for Kroger, said Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane.
Witnesses say Thang worked in the sushi department.
Police haven’t given a motive in the shooting, but Kroger employee Lawanda Clark recalls overhearing managers talking about firing Thang the night before.
“They had to walk the guy out yesterday morning. I think it was round about 9:00,” said Clark. “His boss came and they were talking to him about what happened. They had to walk him out and he didn’t really want them to walk him out. They said they were gonna call the police. But I guess he left at that point.”
She describes Thang as quiet, only conversing with the other sushi workers and sometimes arguing with other co-workers.
“I never said much to him. I think he was pretty off to himself. People had said he don’t like people to speak with him,” said Clark.
Vivian Harris thinks she ran into Thang at another Kroger store in Whitehaven earlier in the day, talking to him as he was making a delivery to the sushi department.
“He didn’t look too happy. But he didn’t look like he was angry. But he definitely perked up a bit while I was talking to him about his sushi,” said Harris.
It was two hours before the Collierville Kroger shooting.
After the tragedy, investigators were seen taking evidence from Thang’s Collierville apartment.
Nashville station WKRN reported Friday that the FBI visited a home in Antioch, in Middle Tennessee. Neighbors said the home belonged to the suspect’s parents.
For Kroger employees, it’s all too frightening, knowing a co-worker who had several run-ins with others was responsible for this tragedy.
“This guy, he showed signs something wasn’t right. We should never turn a blind eye to something like that,” said Clark.
Police say Thang had no violent criminal history and just a few misdemeanors.