Kroger employee killed in store parking lot shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Kroger employee killed in store parking lot shooting

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

A grocery store employee and her husband are dead after an early morning shooting in the parking lot of a Memphis Kroger.

The shooting happened at East Shelby Drive and Elvis Presley Boulevard, in the Whitehaven neighborhood, around 5:40 a.m.

Police identified the victim as 39-year-old Chatoya Hunter. Police say as she arrived to work, her husband, who police identify as Rodriquez Hunter, rammed her vehicle on the driver's side, according to police. He was driving a gray SUV. The woman then got out of her vehicle through the passenger door. Police say her husband then started firing shots as she ran away. Investigators say that is when witnesses called police.

"Right now I'm just trying to be strong for everybody and my babies," said Tierra Bonner, Chatoya Hunter's oldest daughter.

When an officer arrived on the scene, he saw a woman, who family says was Chatoya, lying on the ground, and a man armed with a gun. When the officer took cover, the man pointed a gun at him and yelled for the officer to kill him, according to police.

He then shot himself. Emergency crews took him to the Regional Medical Center in extremely critical condition, where he later died.

"It's just not fair that she has to lose her life like that, and this soon," said Bonner.

Family say the two were separated, but that he was trying to win her back.

"If she didn't want to talk to him, he would go around and break stuff in the house or he would put detergent in her car to stop it," said Bonner.

Rodriguez Hunter's family, in shock, told WMC Action News 5 that his action Wednesday morning were unlike him.

"I hate that it happened and we all mourning. I'm sorry to Toya," said Lejunoesque Mitchell, Rodriquez Hunter's cousin. She says she never saw the incident coming.

"That's not his character," said Mitchell. "I don't know what pushed him to doing that or anything."

"I feel like it could have been prevented a long time ago. I feel like she should have gotten police or someone involved, but it's too late now," said Bonner.

Kroger Delta Division President Tim Brown sent the following statement:

A tragic incident occurred this morning outside our Kroger store on Shelby Drive in Memphis. It is an active police investigation and we are doing all we possibly can to assist the Memphis Police Department. The store will remain closed until the investigation is complete. Grief counselors are onsite to assist our store associates during this time.

"We feared that he was kind of off and that he was possible of doing something like this," said Bonner.

Bonner says the two were married and had two kids together, but they were separated and he wanted her back. Bonner recalled that the two argued a lot.

"I feel like if she would have just went and involved the police or someone a while ago, this probably would have been prevented."

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