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OpinionEditorial

A new LI chapter in America's sad story of gun violence

Nassau County Police officers talk with employees of

Nassau County Police officers talk with employees of a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead following Tuesday's shooting at the supermarket. Credit: Reece T. Williams

It's happened again and again, in communities across the country.

Tuesday morning, gun violence came to Long Island — with tragic results. It was Nassau County's turn in the cable news chyrons, another marker on the national map of mass shootings.

In a supermarket where workers have been among the essential unsung heroes of the past year, as they kept stocking shelves, manning cash registers and managing operations despite the looming fear of the pandemic, another deadly threat entered the West Hempstead Stop & Shop.

One person was killed and two others injured in a shooting in the store's offices. The suspect, Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 31, is believed to be a current or former employee.

The tragic incident came less than a week after a former employee shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. It's been less than a month after 10 people were shot and killed inside the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Co., and slightly longer since the shootings that killed eight in Atlanta.

Now fear, pain and grief have come here. Now Long Islanders were inside the store as shots rang out. Now, local residents are mourning one of their own.

There's a lot we don't know, from the motive to the gun's origins, and whether it was obtained legally. But what we do know is that even as we reemerge from the often intangible horror of the pandemic, a palpable menace has reemerged as well.

Over the last year, public mass gun violence slowed to a virtual halt. As we return to "normal," it's now clear that "normal" includes not only joy but horror. Not only ballgames and movies and even our workplaces, but guns and brutality — everywhere. Not only lives renewed, but lives stopped — in an instant.

As we hope for an end to the pandemic, so, too, must we push for an end to the carnage.

— The editorial board

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