Employees gather in a nearby parking lot after a shooting at a Walmart store, in Southaven, Miss./ AP
Employees gather in a nearby parking lot after a shooting at a Walmart store, in Southaven, Miss./ AP

Two dead, 2 wounded in Walmart shooting

A GUNMAN described as a disgruntled Walmart employee has fatally shot two co-workers and wounded a police officer before he was shot and arrested at a Walmart store in northern Mississippi.

Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore said the man, whom he did not name, shot a Southaven police officer, who was protected by a bulletproof vest and suffered minor injuries.

The chief said a second Southaven officer shot the suspect, who was then taken for surgery to a hospital in neighbouring Memphis, Tennessee.

Both the people killed were Walmart employees, Moore said on Tuesday. Employees told The Associated Press the first was shot in the parking lot, and the second was shot inside the store.

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite described the suspect as a disgruntled worker with a grievance against his employer.

"It wasn't an accident," said Travis Jones, an overnight stocker who was working when he heard shots. "He knew what he was doing when he came in there."

Jones said he saw the body of a store manager on the floor as they ran out of the store. "It was an ugly scene," he said.

The shooting at about 6.30am brought a massive police response to the shopping complex, at a busy exit off Interstate 55 in Southaven, a suburb of 55,000 people.

Officers kept working to clear the store hours after the shooting, Moore said, in part because they found a suspicious package and called a bomb squad.

Moore said about 60 employees were working at the time. They were taken to the parking lot of an adjoining Chili's restaurant and interviewed by officers. Some embraced while one was placed in an ambulance. Others gathered in a circle to pray.

"The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of two valued members of our team," Walmart US president and CEO Greg Foran said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

"We feel tragedies like this personally, and our hearts go out to the families of our two associates and the officer who was injured."