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LAKELAND, Tenn. -- A knife-wielding employee of a Schnuck's supermarket here attacked eight co-workers Friday, seriously injuring five before a witness who pulled a gun was able to stop him.
The attacker stabbed seven people -- two of who remained hospitalized as of Saturday -- while another victim suffered heat-related symptoms after being chased in the store's parking lot.
Elartrice Ingram, 21, who was on duty in the seafood department when he allegedly began to attack the other employees, was charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to local police. The attacks apparently stemmed from a work dispute, the police said.
Of the incident, Schnucks spokeswoman Lori Willis told Progressive Grocer that in the interest of protecting the privacy of Schnucks associates, "We observe a firm policy not to discuss matters of employment. However, I can tell you that the suspect in this incident had not been terminated, nor was he the subject of any disciplinary action."
No customers were attacked in the rampage, which started shortly before 10 a.m. in an employee area of Schnucks' Stonebridge Store, located at 9025 Highway 64 in Lakeland on the outskirts of Memphis.
Ingram chased one victim into the store's parking lot, where he was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, according to Memphis police officials.
Police recovered two large knives at the scene that were allegedly used in the attacks.
Six store associates, including the suspect, were treated at the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center at The Med, while three others with less serious injuries were taken to St. Francis-Bartlett, according to Willis.
Willis added that the chain responded immediately to the incident. "Our president and c.e.o. Scott Schnuck flew down with a team of managers on Friday afternoon," she said. "He met with the injured and their families, and assured them that all company resources needed would be made available to them."
Willis said the store was closed Friday following the attack, and was reopened Saturday. All associates and their families are being encouraged to take advantage of counseling services, which began being offered on Saturday morning, she added.
"Our focus remains on our associates and their families during this difficult time," said Willis. "In an effort to provide immediate assistance and counseling, we have dispatched emergency personnel as well as company leaders from our Memphis and St. Louis offices. Store management team members and other associates who witnessed the event continue to cooperate fully with local authorities."
-- Meg Major