Update: Community in shock following deadly Walmart shooting

Police caution tape marks off the scene of a fatal shooting at the Walmart Supercenter on Saturday. The victim, 42-year-old Shauna Witt, was pronounced dead at OCH Regional Medical Center following the shooting. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)

A Kosciusko man is facing a capital murder charge after a shooting Saturday morning that left a Starkville optometrist dead.

Investigators said 41-year-old William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm, is accused of shooting 42-year-old Shauna Witt inside of the Walmart Supercenter on Highway 12 a little after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning.

The Starkville Daily News confirmed Witt was an employee of the eye care center inside Walmart and was working at the time of the incident.

Following the shooting, Witt was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Hospital spokesperson Mary Kathryn Kight told the Starkville Daily News Witt was brought into the emergency room with two gunshot wounds at 9:58 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 10:05 a.m.

SPD says Chisholm and Witt were in an “on-again-off-again” dating relationship. The incident was thought to be isolated and domestic in nature, although no motive was provided as of Saturday.

SPD Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady confirmed burglary as the underlying charge that resulted in Chisholm being accused of capital murder.

SPD Chief Frank Nichols held a press conference Saturday afternoon where he told media that Chisholm entered the store confronting Witt and fired several shots once inside.

Witt was struck twice, but no other people were injured by the gunfire.

Nichols said officers responded to a shots fired call at Walmart around 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. When they arrived on scene, they encountered Chisholm, who was armed with a handgun.

After a brief struggle, Chisholm was detained and taken into custody.

A video filmed by bystander Ken Murrell shows the moments when Chisholm was arrested. Multiple officers had guns drawn in the Walmart parking lot as they surrounded him.

He can be heard on camera telling officers to “Kill me, please. Take me down. Kill me. Kill me.”

A large police presence made up of SPD officers and Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the store the entire day Saturday. Lovelady said the store would remain closed until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Chisholm will have an initial appearance in Starkville Municipal Court on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The shooting death opens the first homicide case for Starkville in the new year and the first since August 2017.


In the aftermath of the shooting, scores of people who knew Witt professionally and who called her a friend took to social media to express their emotions following her death.

Grenada native Justin Blaylock, 33, worked for Witt a couple of years ago and had known the optometrist for close to 20 years.

“She was a generous, kind soul,” Blaylock said. “She will be greatly missed by all. Just a genuine friend that cared at all times and was willing to lend a hand at anytime.”

“I just remembered this, when I went back in the summer of 2016 for my check-up, she was so sweet to my 4-year-old daughter that had to come with me,” said Mathiston resident Hope Anderson, 32. “She even let her sit in the chair and ‘rode’ her up and down in it and let her check out the equipment and such. My daughter was thrilled.”

Anderson said while she didn’t know Witt on a personal level, she pointed to several people she knew that also frequented the Starkville optometrist.

“My mother-in-law has gone to her for years, as well as a fellow homeschool friend that went to her,” Anderson said. “Little things like (her experience with Witt) mean a lot to a customer.”


While it has yet to be confirmed by law enforcement officials in Starkville, past news reports say William Thomas Chisholm had previously been involved in an armed standoff with Madison County Sheriff’s deputies.

Multiple media reports claim in April 2012, Chisholm barricaded himself in his Gluckstadt home and threatened to hurt himself and others.

Following that incident, Chisholm was peacefully taken to a hospital for evaluation concerning his mental health and it is unclear if any charges were filed against him.

No details as to Chisholm’s past criminal history have been provided by SPD, other than the fact he was out on bond at the time of the shooting for an incident related to the victim that occurred in Kosciusko.

It is unclear at this time what charges Chisholm faced prior to his arrest on Saturday.

According to the suspect’s Facebook page, Chisholm most recently worked as an RN charge nurse at Monfort Jones Memorial Hospital in Kosciusko. It is not known if he was still employed at the hospital at the time of the shooting.

Chisholm could also be seen with the victim in pictures on his Facebook page. The most recent photo of the couple was posted in August 2017.