Six people confirmed killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart store in the US state of Virginia, the city of Chesapeake says, adding that the suspected shooter was also dead.

The shooting happened less than 48 hours before Americans nationwide celebrate Thanksgiving.
The shooting happened less than 48 hours before Americans nationwide celebrate Thanksgiving. (AP)

An attacker has shot and killed at least six people at a Walmart in the US state of Virginia, police said.

"Chesapeake Police confirm seven fatalities, including the shooter, from last night's shooting at Walmart on Sam's Circle," the city confirmed on its Twitter account on Wednesday.

Chesapeake Police Department officer Leo Kosinski had earlier told reporters that there had been "multiple fatalities" at the megastore, which local media reported was busy with holiday shoppers.

Emergency calls were first made just after 10:00 pm local on Tuesday (0300 GMT on Wednesday) while the store was still open, with rapid response officers and tactical teams entering "immediately" after arriving on the scene, Kosinski said.

Local media reported that witnesses said the shooting began at the back of the store and that at least five wounded had been rushed to the hospital.

Police did not provide any details about the suspected shooter's identity or how the assailant died.

'Senseless gun violence'

Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, issued a statement saying: "We are shocked at this tragic event."

The company added that it was "praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We're working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates."

Virginia state Senator Louise Lucas, who represents the Chesapeake region, said she was "absolutely heartbroken that America's latest mass shooting took my district."

"I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives," she said on Twitter.

US congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia also Tweeted about the incident, saying, "tragically, our community is suffering from yet another incident of senseless gun violence just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving."

The incident occurred three nights after a gunman in Colorado, in the country's Rocky Mountain west, opened fire inside a nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring at least 18, in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

READ MORE: Massive US rally demands changes in gun laws after recent shootings

Source: AFP