Stop & Shop to donate $500K to those affected by shooting

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Stop & Shop to donate $500K to those affected by shooting
Stop & Shop donated $500,000 to establish a West Hempstead Compassion Fund after three people were shot at one of its' stores last week. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Stop & Shop donated $500,000 in aid after a shooting at its West Hempstead store last week left one dead and two injured.

After a search, police arrested Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 31, who officials said was an employee of the store, in the shooting.

Officials said he went into the Stop & Shop at 50 Cherry Valley Ave. on the morning of April 20. Wilson, whose job was to collect carts, was nonconfrontational in an initial conversation with management before returning 40 minutes later with a gun, police said. 

Wilson, according to police, went to the second-floor office, where he shot a 26-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man, who survived. He then allegedly went into another office, where he shot and killed a 49-year-old manager, Ray Wishropp, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they apprehended  Wilson around 3 p.m. the same day at an apartment building in Hempstead after a search involving more than 150 officers, with helicopters circling overhead. 

Wilson, who police said had previous arrests for assault, attempted narcotics distribution, attempted murder, and possession of a firearm, was also the subject of two previous mental health crisis calls. Wilson was arraigned last Wednesday and was charged with second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, officials said.

If convicted of all charges, Wilson could face  25 years to life in prison, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. His next court date was set for May 12, according to officials.

Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said in a statement to Newsday that he was “shocked and heartbroken” by the incident. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, our associates, customers, and the first responders who have responded heroically to this tragic situation,” Reid said in a statement.

The West Hempstead location reopened its doors to the public on Monday, officials said.

The store’s corporate office announced on Friday that $500,000 would be used to establish the West Hempstead Compassion Fund, which will provide donations and direct financial aid for the survivors of Wishropp’s family and everyone impacted by the event.

Stop & Shop will not have any control over the funds, which will be managed by the Compassion Fund, a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime. Officials said the corporate office will also provide the associates and store employees with grief counseling.

John R. Durso, president of Local Union 338 RWDSU/UFCW, which represents more than  100  of the store’s employees,  shared Reid’s sentiment in a statement. “We are devastated by the tragic shooting at the Stop & Shop in West Hempstead. Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and all those, including workers and customers, who witnessed today’s horrifying events. Our priority is and always will be the physical and mental well-being of our members. Representatives of our union are on-site at Stop & Shop and will be ensuring that our members have all of the support they need, including access to counseling.”

Wishropp, a former Valley Stream resident, had seven children and one grandchild, according to multiple reports. His 15-year-old daughter, Valanie, told ABC7 that her father was debating transferring  to Florida, where his mother lives.

“He didn’t want to now because of the job and now his life is taken,” she told ABC7.

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