SALEM - Two Mahoning County residents are dead following a murder-suicide outside the Walmart here early Sunday.
According to the Salem Police Department, dead are Charles Kropinak, 36, of Campbell, and Sylvia Maillis, 37, of Canfield - who was a Walmart employee. It is believed Kropinak shot Maillis then turned the gun on himself.
About 2:40 a.m. Sunday, police received a 911 call of shots being fired in the southeast parking lot of the store at 2875 E. State St. Upon arrival, officers found a dead man and woman.
According to Talbert, Maillis and a few co-workers were in the employee parking lot, having just returned from a break at a nearby Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts.
Some time later, a vehicle pulled in two spaces from them, and Kropinak exited his vehicle. Maillis also exited her vehicle and the pair began arguing, police said.
The two were standing between the two vehicles when Kropinak took out a gun, shot Maillis multiple times then shot himself, police said. The weapon used was a Ruger 9-mm semi-automatic handgun.
The gun was found near Kropinak who did have a concealed carry permit, according to police.
There were multiple witnesses to the shooting who were being interviewed by police. The store security video is also being analyzed.
It is believed that Kropinak and Maillis were a couple but had been separated for months. Maillis had obtained a protection order from Mahoning County but it was not immediately known if it was still active.
According to Shawn Mercer, a husband of one of the witnesses, Maillis and Kropinak used to date each other.
"They have been split up for three months, so I have no idea why he did this," Mercer told newspartner WKBN Channel 27.
According to Walmart spokeswoman Dianna Gee, Maillis had worked for the company for nearly eight years.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this horrible tragedy," Gee said in a statement. "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."
Gee added that Walmart sent crisis counselors to the Salem store to offer their services, and also brought in employees from other stores to help staff the store "to allow our associates some time to grieve."
Gee said Maillis' colleagues described her "as someone who had a contagious positive personality. She was very well liked; known as the 'go-to' person. As an overnight support manager, people looked up to her."
At the time of the shooting, there were not a lot of people a Walmart, Talbert said. Police secured the scene and the store was shut down for several hours.
Talbert said the shooting was ruled a murder-suicide.