Salem police are still searching for answers after two people were found dead in a Walmart parking lot Sunday morning in an apparent murder-suicide.
“At this point we believe that it was a murder-suicide and that there is not anyone else out there,” said Salem Police Det. Brad Davis.
Sylvia Maillis, 37, of Canfield, and Charles Kropiak, 36, were found shot to death at about 2:40 a.m. Sunday with a Ruger 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun next to their bodies in the parking lot. Maillis was working the overnight shift Sunday morning.
Davis said that the shooting happened in inside the parking lot next to the market entrance.
Shawn Mercer said his wife, who witnessed the shootings, said Maillis and another Walmart employee were in the parking lot on their break when Kropinak confronted Maillis.
“She got out of the car and walked to the back, the girl that was sitting in the passenger seat said I think he’s got a gun. My wife turned around and next thing you know he shot her and then shot himself,” said Mercer.
Mercer indicated that Maillies and Kropinak used to date each other.
“They have been split up for three months so I have no idea why he did this,” said Mercer.
Police said the two died at the scene. Walmart remained closed until 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
Walmart spokesperson Diana Gee released the following statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this horrible tragedy. Sylvia touched a lot of
people’s lives and she will be greatly missed. We are in close contact with the family as they come to terms with their loss. We are also working with law enforcement to provide any information we have to assist in the investigation.
“As you might expect, our associates are hurting too. We are deploying crisis counselors to the store and making their services available to associates. We are also bringing in associates from surrounding stores to help staff the store to allow our associates some time to grieve.”
Maillis’ colleagues describe her as someone who had a contagiously positive personality. She was very well liked and was known as the “go to” person. As an overnight support manager, people looked up to her. She also once served as the training coordinator for the store, coworkers said.
Maillis worked for Walmart for nearly eight years.