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Neighbor of Kroger gunman: ‘Unbelievable that he probably lived next door’

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Police said a 29-year-old Uk Thang was the gunman in the shooting at the Collierville Kroger on New Byhalia Road. Just hours after the shooting police were searching Thang’s apartment.

Thang lived off Winchester and Schilling Boulevard, less than a mile from the Kroger. Police said he worked at the Kroger with a third party vendor.

“One of our [police] cars was flagged down in the parking lot and a citizen said there’s shooting going on at Kroger,” Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said.

Chief Lane said it took just minutes for the gunman to open fire inside Kroger, hitting 15 people, killing one, then turning the gun on himself.

“Sirens were coming and that’s when we believe he took his own life,” Lane said.

Soon after the shooting a bomb squad was investigating several pieces of evidence dealing with the shooter, including a backpack he had on himself, and his car in the parking lot.

That car has Davidson County, TN tags. Action News 5 learned Thang’s family lives in Antioch, Tennessee outside Nashville.

At the family home Friday a member of Thang’s family’s church spoke to journalists.

“I’m sorry to these families,” the man, who did not want to be identified, said. “For me personally I’ll be praying because I’m a believer and a Christian.”

Back in Collierville, many of Thang’s neighbors had heard of the shooting throughout the day on Thursday, but were shocked the investigation took police so close to their homes.

“It’s unbelievable that he probably just lived next door,” Neighbor Jinchen Yu said.

Police searched Thang’s apartment Thursday night and pulled evidence. Lane said all that evidence, electronic evidence he said, is being processed.

“He was a nice guy. I can’t say there was anything suspicious,” one neighbor said.

Thang’s next door neighbor spoke to us Friday morning. He did not want to be on camera, but said most of his interactions with Thang consisted of “hellos” and “goodbyes.” On Wednesday he said Thang talked a little longer.

Action News 5′s Kelly Roberts asked if that conversation with Thang stood out to the neighbor at all.

“He asked me about the tint on my car. So I don’t know,” he said.

Action News 5 looked into any prior criminal history of Thang’s. Chief Lane said Thang was picked up on some misdemeanor arrests but nothing violent.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows no criminal record for Thang in the state.

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