MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– It’s been nearly a year since the mass shooting at Kroger in Collierville.
September 23, 2021, was a day that sent shockwaves through the Mid-South. The town’s police chief called it, “the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville’s history.”
Captain of training Joe Casey and firefighter/driver Tommy Patrick with the Collierville Fire Department responded to Kroger that afternoon.
Investigators told us a disgruntled gunman opened fire, shooting 14 people and killing Olivia King, a mother of three, before turning the gun on himself.
“They said there was eight victims that had been shot. They were in the back of the building,” Patrick said. “Got on our tactical gear and they had four paramedics already treating the patients.”
Nearly a year later, they shared their reflections from the tragedy.
“My biggest worry was finding someone that I knew, hurt or dead,” Patrick said. “We just got ’em goin, got ’em out. We didn’t know if there was another shooter or not. So we just did our job.”
Casey said on the way to the call he knew word about the mass shooting would spread quickly.
“One of the biggest things in my mind was to let my family know that I was okay but I couldn’t really tell them anything,” he said.
The crew had trained with their tactical gear but never had to actually use it.
“Police asked me to walk around with them inside the building since I did have tactical gear to see if anymore victims were in there we could pull them out or even if they, the police got shot I could tend to them,” Patrick recalled.
The Battalion Chief called for all resources to show up at the scene. First responders from across the Mid-South, including the Memphis Fire Department and the Shelby County Fire Department, swarmed the grocery store.
Crews worked to get patients out of the building in minutes to get victims to the hospital.
“We all came together and worked hard,” Patrick said.
Casey said nearly a year later, he still thinks about it when he goes into the grocery store.
“It means that somebody appreciates what we do. I think that is one of the reasons that we do this job, is to take care of the community, and to feel their appreciation when we do is a bonus,” he said.
Kroger has opened a resource center next to the grocery store for employees and first responders affected by the shooting.