Update: Shooting Reported At Burke Target

Burke resident dies of gunshot wound.

Burke Target.  Photo by Susan Larson.
Burke Target. Photo by Susan Larson.

We have published a follow-up to this story with information and resources to help the community cope with and heal from this tragic event.  Read it here:

UPDATED 5:00 p.m.

A 56-year-old Burke woman died from a gunshot wound to the head Tuesday, according to Fairfax County Police.

“Preliminarily, our detectives believe this shooting was self-inflicted,” said Lucy Caldwell, Fairfax County Police Public Information Officer.  “The final determination, however, will be made by the Office of the Medical Examiner.”

The woman’s identity will be released once next of kin are notified.

Police responded to the Target store in Burke at about noon today for the report of a shooting. Witnesses report seeing EMS performing CPR on the victim as she was taken on a gurney to an ambulance.

The shooting took place inside the store.  “The victim was a guest and not a team member,” said Target spokesperson Molly Snyder.  She said the store is currently closed, as staff work with local law enforcement on the investigation.

Target store operator Sarah said management hopes to reopen the store at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

UPDATED 3:35 p.m.

A 50-year-old female was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to a police communication.  Patch is awaiting confirmation and additional details from the Fairfax County Police.


Police have responded to the property around the store in the 10300 block of New Guinea Road in Burke for a reported shooting.

The circumstances surrounding the event are not clear.

Fairfax County Police Department Public Information Officer Lucy Caldwell said there does not appear to be any threat to public safety at this time and shoppers should not be alarmed if they notice an increased police presence in the area.

Patch will report more details as they become available.

Follow-up Stories:

A suicide in Burke. Should we have reported it? (Washington Post)

National Suicide Prevention Week

Suicide Prevention and Survivor Healing

r May 02, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I am very surprised I have not seen this story on the local news channels last night or thid morning. I hope everyone who was in the store, especially the small girl, can move on and get support they will need.
Myk Gunner May 02, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Who did Molly lose ?
Myk Gunner May 02, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Everybody it was my best friends mother / my mother to me for 16 years. Yes it was traffic the way she did we have not figured anything out as to why she did it this way all she had to was talk to us we could of helped her in many ways
Chris May 02, 2012 at 01:48 PM
They generally don't cover public suicides in the news. It's thought by doing so, it could encourage the behavior. Sorry for your loss Myk. There's no positive spin on tragedy like this and generally not worth trying to figure out why. There is a great book on "ambiguous loss" that helps come with coming to terms with things when closure is hard to find.
Susan Lydick May 02, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Myk, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and the family and with first responders and those who witnessed this.
Ems108 May 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I am a friend of the family. Some People on here are just unbearably rude. This was not a woman who "showed the signs" you seem to think are always so obvious. She was a mom of 2 wonderful children and belover wife. No one will ever know why she chone to end he life and in such a way...have some compassion for the family that is mourning. Pray for the medics and first responders these are not easy situations for us to handle no matter how many we respond to. Pray for the alleged child that was a witness to be able to erase this from her mind and not be scathed...JUST PRAY. DON'T HATE. Don't assume you know based on an experience or news report...everyone handles things differently.
Ems108 May 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Wow and pray i type better on my phone...my apologies for my spelling...this new screen is tiny.
Laura May 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Do you knwhere they will release the name to the public? Burke is such a tight knit community, I feel like most of us would know her
Melina Xacrox Smith May 02, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I doubt it was just the shoplifting that drove her to do this. Usually there is some underlying issue. Suicide is a horrible way to lose someone. I've lost two friends to suicide. I wish her family and friends the best in healing from their loss. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal please ask for help! People want to help you! Your life is precious and worth living. Don't let your loved ones go through the pain that so many others have. It's okay to ask for help.
Laura May 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Do you know if they will release the name? Burke is such a tight knit community; I feel like lots of people may have known her, but may not be aware that this was her...
Susan Larson (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 05:14 PM
We have published an article with Information and resources to help the community cope with and heal from Tuesday's tragic event. Here is the link: http://burke.patch.com/articles/suicide-prevention-and-survivor-healing
olfa May 02, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I was about 30 feet or so from the incidents, i herd POP but never thought it was a gun shot ,then i saw that poor girl crying and then someone said call 911 ..my gosh I saw the lady in the corner laying on her right side her face was covered with something gray and the blood was near the head ..I saw the police lady trying to see if she still alive but she did not move ..I thought she was dead ,,you will not imagine that horrible feeling to see some one like that . and yes she seemed to be alive when they came out ,but if she still alive why they did not take her right away to the hospital? am just worries about that little girl and how she can get over what she she saw ? we just have to wait for more info ..
olfa May 02, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I was about 30 feet or so from the incidents, I herd a POP but never thought it was a gun shot , then I saw that poor little girl crying and ,then someone shouting call 911..my gosh I saw the lady in the far end corner laying on her right side her face was covered with something gray and the blood was near the head ..I saw the police lady trying to see if she still alive but she did not move ..I thought she's dead ..you will not imagine that horrible feeling to see someone in that position ! and yes she seemed to be alive when they brought her out , but if she still alive why they did not take her right away to the hospital? am just worries about the little girl who saw the lady shooting herself and how she will get over it? we just have to wait for more info.
Gordon Blvd May 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
@olfa - they probably didnt move her immediately because they needed to stablize her wounds first
Eloise May 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Myk, my deepest sympathy for the loss of your dear friend. No one can possibly understand the mental state of someone at a time like this. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Even though I don't know her name, she is a fellow human being and thus deserving of our compassion. I have been thinking about her and her family all day. What a sad, sad story.
olfa May 03, 2012 at 05:50 AM
that is true Gordon! it's very sad to hear that she's dead ! her image still like a shadow to me anywhere I go .......
Shipoo May 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I was at Target when this occurred. I am having a very hard time putting closure to this. I would love to know her name so I could have a mass said for her and her family. My thoughts and prayers go out to her precious family, the amazing Target staff that calmly evacuated the building, the EMT's, and especially the little girl who witnessed it. When I hugged her she felt like a shell of a little girl and looked like a ghost. I am just sick for her and pray that she can erase this from her innocent little mind. Thank you everyone for your comments we are all helping each other to get through this!!!!
Teresa May 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I am so sorry for your loss and I am praying for you and her family. It is easy to judge not so easy to show compassion.
Scott May 03, 2012 at 04:07 PM
None of the news stations are covering this story. Channel 9 told me that since this is a suicide they made the decision not to cover he story. It is too taboo. I would like to know exactly what happened.
BurkeCentreMom May 03, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Burke is a small close knit community, I feel most of us Moms must have known her, know her friends or family, or have met her. I too am one of many who would like to send out prayers, how is it her name is still not released?
Susan Larson (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM
@Shipoo: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) recommends those struggling to cope with this tragedy talk to a health care professional. Additional information and resources are available in our follow-up article 'Suicide Prevention and Survivor Healing' at this link http://patch.com/A-sTQl Her name will not be released in the media out of respect for the family. Thank you for your prayers and concern. Please take care of yourself, too.
BurkeCentreMom May 03, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I am so sorry for your loss too, I have lost a friend to suicide, many years ago. As a Burke Mom, I really want to know who she was, if I knew or ever met her and send prayers, can you tell me where to go to find this out?
Susan Larson (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Patch will not release the person's name out of respect for the family. (Although in this case we do not even know her name.)
Amanda May 03, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Hey Crystal, it's Amanda, I was at the front lanes when it hapenned. Yes they have professional help for the team members. Yes there was a little girl at the scene. It's just so hard all around. Work has been really quiet and strange since. Just trying to wrap our minds around this thing.
Amanda May 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Sorry for you all. I truly am.
Mike McGrady May 04, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Dawn Smith, regarding your post speculating that the woman was shoplifting was irresponsible, uncalled for and totally without substance. It has fueled others to pile-on with their own irresponsible, unknowing comments. The fact is that the woman was a mother of two, a wife, a daughter, and a sister who had written her loved ones a letter of her love for them and her intent. No one knows why she chose Target as the place to end her life, but I guess that is better than choosing to go to some location where she might not have been found for days. May her soul rest in peace, and may her friends and family also be at peace with her decision. In the meantime, hold those you love close and be forgiving. /// MGM35
olfa May 04, 2012 at 07:32 PM
i hope her family know how sorry we are to see that happened to there loved one..i hope her family will except our sympathies and prayers for there loss .. and GOD help us get through this . I still cant stop thinking about that day , it really makes it harder each day ..
Dora May 09, 2012 at 10:55 PM
She was my friends mother. We miss her terribly every day.
SL May 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
http://www.fairfaxmemorialfuneralhome.com/_mgxroot/page_10780.php?task=Current&listing=All Those of you wondering, can check here.
Matthew Baker May 12, 2012 at 02:06 AM
The woman was a very nice caring relative of mine who had the best intentions for everyone in and out of her life I would appreciate if everyone with their assumption will keep them to theirself and not create irrational rumors.


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