NEW YORK - The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Stop & Shop supermarket on Long Island was arraigned on murder charges Wednesday.
Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, 31, of Long Beach, a shopping cart gatherer with a violent criminal history, was charged in Minneola with one count of murder in the second degree and four counts of attempted murder after a deadly shooting in West Hempstead a day earlier.
Wilson opened fire seven times Tuesday at about 11:18 a.m. on five people inside a second-floor management office at the West Hempstead location, killing Ray Wishropp, 49, of Valley Stream, announced Nassau County Lt. Det. Stephen Fitzpatrick. A 50-year-old man of Bethpage was shot once in the face and twice in the shoulder. A 26-year-old woman of Bayshore was shot in the shoulder. Both were being treated at local hospitals. Two other 47-year-old women were not injured.
Wilson fled on foot eastbound along Hempstead Turnpike. Calls to 911 lead police to 100 Terrace Avenue in Hempstead. He attempted to leave the building at about 3:02 p.m. when he was arrested, added Fitzpatrick.
Nassau County Police released a photo of Gabriel Dewitt Wilson. He was wanted for a triple shooting at a Stop and Shop grocery store.
"This was truly remarkable," said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas during a briefing on the shooting. "That the arrest of an armed suspect who was inside an apartment building that was full of civilians was taken down without incident without further violence is a testament to this police department and to the men and women in law enforcement."
Police continue to search for the weapon believed to be a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
A motive for the shooting was not clear but police said Wilson went into the management office to ask for a transfer to another store. He left a few minutes later without incident and returned 40 minutes later and opened fire.
Wishropp’s family told FOX 5 NY that he had worked for Stop & Shop for 30 years. He was a father of seven, a man loved by friends and family.
"My family is heartbroken today because we lost a very great person. Anyone who knew him knew the kind of person he was," said Alex Bernard, the victim's cousin.
Bernard says Wishropp was one of two store managers. He claims colleagues told him, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Several employees had complained about Wilson, who worked at the store for two years, including a female employee who had accused him of unwanted advances. Other employees said Wilson was threatening towards them. He had been called into the management office on several occasions, added police.
Gabriel Dewitt Wilson, 31, was walked into Nassau County Police Headquarters in Mineola. (FOX 5 NY)
Wilson was arrested several times in Baltimore, Maryland for attempted murder and violent assaults. He was the subject of two mental health crisis calls to police on Long Island.
The suspect faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the top charge. He is due back in court Friday.