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Stop & Shop Shooting: Police Say Suspect Gabriel Dewitt Wilson Has Mental Health Issues And Long List Of Crimes

WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The supermarket employee accused in a deadly shooting on Long Island appeared in court on Wednesday morning.

Gabriel Dewitt Wilson is charged with killing a manager, and injuring two other workers at a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead.

Authorities describe Wilson, 31, as a troubled employee. They said he showed up to work on Tuesday to ask for a transfer to another location. He filled out a form and then left without incident, only to return 40 minutes later, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.

Wearing a white jumpsuit, Wilson was walked into Nassau County police headquarters on Wednesday morning, mumbling under his breath. He is charged with second-degree murder, and four counts of attempted murder, after investigators say he opened fire at the supermarket on Cherry Valley Road just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond.

Gabriel Dewitt Wilson
Gabriel Dewitt Wilson identified as person of interest after deadly shooting at Stop & Shop in West Hempstead. (Credit: Nassau County Police)

"Gabriel Wilson responded directly to the second-floor management offices. In that area, he intentionally fired a .380 semi-automatic handgun seven times at five different people," Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said.

READ MOREFive Things We Know About The West Hempstead Stop & Shop Shooting

Emotions spilled over at the Valley Stream home of Ray Wishropp, a father of seven who died in the shooting. Originally from Guyana, the 49-year-old was remembered as a clever, kind and compassionate family man, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

"A loving member of his family, his community. Our thoughts also go to victims who are recovering from their physical wounds and traumatic wounds," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Wishropp's parents and cousins flew in from Florida.

"It's a heavy day for us today and we miss him, but I know we will se him again in the resurrection, so ... I love him so much. I'm sorry. Thanks you," cousin Alex Bernard said.

Wishropp's close-knit neighbors and friends on Montague Street are also grieving.

"We did everything together. He's a great guy. Anybody that knows him just loves him instantly," friend Joseph Aggerup said.

"Great guy, big heart, generous, always trying to help someone," Manny Baksh said.

"My husband has a garden. He has a garden. They shared vegetables. He was just a good guy," Mary Ellen Vicari added.

Watch: Nassau Police Share Update On Stop & Shop Active Shooter

Two other store employees were wounded in the shooting. A 50-year-old man from Bethpage and a 26-year-old woman from Bay Shore were both shot in the shoulder and are recovering at a local hospital.

More than 100 shoppers were in the supermarket scared for their lives.

"Frantic, frantic ... People just running with their carts and some man said, 'Honey, honey, don't go in there. There's an active shooter,'" one woman told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff on Tuesday night.

READ MOREStop & Shop Shooting: Cashier Describes Terrifying Moments Shots Rang Out

Authorities say Wilson fled the area and led police on a four-hour manhunt before they arrested him at an apartment on Terrace Avenue.

As for a possible motive, authorities say Wilson asked for a transfer to another Stop & Shop after female employees complained he harassed them.

The suspect's attorney told CBS2 that Wilson, who has prior arrests in Maryland, has suffered mentally since he was shot in the head 10 years ago.

Police credited the community for its tremendous support as tips poured in and agencies from all over arrived to assist. Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder explained the department was already on alert because, sadly, April has been a historical month of gun violence.

"Patriots Day, Boston Marathon; Virginia Tech shooting; Waco, Texas; Oklahoma City, Hitler's birthday, Columbine, Oscala High School. We are aware of what this month is and we've increased our patrols," Ryder said.

If convicted of the top charge, Wilson could face 25 years to life in prison.

CBS2's Jennifer McLogan contributed to this report

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