SALEM - A shooting in the employee parking lot at the Salem Walmart early Sunday morning has been ruled a murder-suicide.
The dead have been identified by Salem police as 37-year-old Sylvia Maillis of Canfield, a Walmart employee, and Charles Kropinak, 36, of Campbell.
City police received a 911 call at 2:40 a.m. Sunday of reported shots in the southeast parking lot at Walmart, located at 2875 E. State St. Upon arrival, officers found a deceased female and male.
According to Detective Dave Talbert, Maillis was working the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. She went on break with a couple co-workers to the nearby Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts. They then returned to the employee parking lot.
Some time later, a vehicle pulled in two spaces down from them. Kropinak, reportedly Maillis' estranged boyfriend, exited his vehicle. She exited the vehicle she was in and a verbal altercation ensued.
Police said they were between the two vehicles when Kropinak brandished a gun and shot Maillis multiple times before taking his own life.
The weapon used was a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun. It was located near Kropinak, who did have a concealed carry permit.
There were multiple witnesses to the shooting who were interviewed. The store security video is also being analyzed.
According to Talbert, at that time of night there were not a lot of people a Walmart. The police secured the scene and the store was shut down until about 10 a.m.
Maillis had obtained a protection order from Mahoning County against Kropinak but it was not certain if it was still active.
The Journal's news partner, WKBN Channel 27, quoted Shawn Mercer, the husband of one of the witnesses, as saying 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 WKBN.
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 released by Walmart. "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 "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."
J.D. Creer is managing editor of the Salem News, sister publication of the Morning Journal.