Man, 26, and woman, 20, shot dead in murder-suicide at Georgia Walmart are identified as James Wyatt Nicholas Norton and Zoey Nicole Messenger – as terrified shoppers describe running for their lives
- The shooting broke out at a Walmart in Hiram, Georgia, at 7:30pm on Wednesday
- A man and a woman both died in the ‘murder-suicide’ according to police
- The police chief confirmed Zoey Nicole Messenger, 20, and James Wyatt Nicholas Norton, 26, were killed
A man shot dead his ex-girlfriend before killing himself in a murder-suicide inside a Georgia Walmart, sending terrified shoppers running for their lives.
The police chief named the two individuals as Zoey Nicole Messenger, 20, and James Wyatt Nicholas Norton, 26.
Norton was an employee at the Hiram branch of Walmart and Messenger appeared to have also worked at the company, though it is unclear if she worked at that particular store.
The pair had previously dated but Messenger ended their relationship.
They both died around 7:30pm on Wednesday. Investigators said Norton went up to Messenger in one of store’s aisles after 7pm and began to talk to her. They said the conversation didn’t appear to be angry but Norton suddenly pulled out a handgun and shot Messenger and himself.
Two people died at a Georgia Walmart after a man shot his ex-girlfriend dead before shooting himself in what police have described as a murder-suicide
Police chiefs have confirmed that Zoey Messenger, 20, and James Wyatt Nicholas Norton, 26, died in the shooting
First responders rushed to the scene and discovered the pair who had suffered at least one gunshot wound each
They were rushed to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital but were pronounced dead on arrival.
Nobody else was hurt in the shooting but shoppers in the store at the time were left terrified.
Devani Lopez was shopping when the shooting broke out.
He said: ‘As soon as I heard the second shot I rain straight for the exit,
‘I heard the gun shot come from my left side so I ran to the right exit,
‘I ran straight for the car to see everyone running like for their lives – everyone was so panicked and scared.
‘I ran straight for my car I didn’t even drive off I just hid in the backseat and I just see everyone gathered around in the entrance.’
There were no previous calls to the police about domestic violence from Messenger or Smith or any prior threats reported. Both of them were from Hiram, Georgia.
Other shoppers heard the gunfire break out and described running for their lives to hide in cars after the terrifying incident
Hiram is a small town about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta
Hiram Police Chief Mike Turner said: ‘What it appears to be is a known-to-known shooting event where both parties knew each other. This was not an active shooter. This was one person knew another person, there was some kind of former relationship,’
Turner said: ‘They were both younger people’.
The police chief added that the scene must have been terrifying for people who were shopping and picking up
He said: ‘Not only for the victim herself but for the other people in there – the fear that must have been instilled by the event.’
Walmart put out a statement: ‘We’re heartbroken by what happened at our Hiram store tonight. Our priority, right now, is the safety of our associates and customers. The store will remain closed while we work with law enforcement during their investigation.’