MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is a tragic day that will be remembered forever in the Collierville community.
Friday marks exactly one year since a gunman walked into a Kroger store in Collierville shooting several people and killing one person before turning the gun on himself.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane called it the most horrific event in Collierville history.
First responders and civilians would be remembered for their bravery that day, with neighbors helping neighbors in a time of tragedy and birthing the phrase “Collierville Strong.”
The tragedy began on a Thursday afternoon when the gunman walked through the front doors of the store at Byhalia and Poplar, while many were shopping.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane says September 23, 2021, is a day he will never forget. He says when the call came in, there was not one ounce of hesitation in his body.
“When you hear that, your title goes out the window. Your position goes out the window. Everyone has this same goal or priority and that’s to get to the shooter and so that’s what you saw that day,” Chief Dale said. “It’s one of those things that you have to make that decision up in your mind way before the day actually occurs that you’re going to go.”
Fourteen people – customers and employees – were shot.
Olivia King, a widow and mother of three, was killed in the attack. Friends of King believe she may have possibly just entered the store when she was shot. She left behind three adult children and five grandchildren.
First responders found the shooter in the store, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.
Investigators say the gunman worked for a third-party company at the store’s sushi counter. They say he was fired that morning and returned hours later with multiple guns.
In the weeks following the attack, we saw the Collierville community come together in solidarity, with multiple fundraisers for the victims and their families. Complete strangers helping one another in the name of their city.
Community members and people across the country rallied behind Collierville as they pushed to move forward.
“To see how this community – business community, pastors, just people loved on each other and loved on us as a police department which was huge,” Chief Dale said.
The Kroger store would reopen more than a month later, as victims and the entire community worked together to move past the horrific day.
“We have a choice. We can’t choose what happens but we can choose how we respond to it,” Chief Dale said.
A Collierville Strong remembrance will be held on the front lawn of Collierville’s Town Hall on Poplar View Parkway at 6 p.m. on Friday.
There will be a moment to honor Olivia King and a chance to support the community of survivors.