SALEM - Salem police detectives were trying to tie up loose ends Monday in the wake of a murder-suicide early Sunday that left a Salem Walmart employee dead and her co-workers heartbroken.
"We are working with the family on how we can best support them," Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said.
Sylvia Maillis, 37, of Canfield, worked as overnight support manager and had gone on her break with a couple of co-workers to Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts.
They returned to the employee parking lot sometime after 2 a.m. and were inside her car when her ex-boyfriend, 36-year-old Charles Kropinak, of Campbell, pulled into the lot.
The two exited their vehicles and argued, then Kropinak pulled out a 9-mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun and shot Maillis multiple times before shooting himself, according to police.
They were both dead at the scene, with the handgun found near Kropinak. Police received the first 911 call at 2:40 a.m. from a caller at Walmart who said somebody had been shot.
"We are all devastated by this tragedy and will miss Sylvia dearly. She was the kind of person who always had a smile on her face and could brighten up anyone's day. Sylvia will be remembered by all those who were fortunate to work with her over the years at the store," store manager Toni Cronin said in a written statement.
Whaling, who works for Walmart Media Relations, said there has been overwhelming support from other Walmart stores in the area who have pitched in and helped out to cover shifts during an obviously difficult time for Maillis' co-workers.
She also said the company arranged for counselors to be at the store to help the employees.
Salem police Detective Brad Davis, who interviewed some of her co-workers, said they "all said her life was her daughter."
She had a 9-year-old daughter and had worked for Walmart since 2005. According to Davis, she had a Canfield address but lived on Washingtonville Road in Salem.
He couldn't confirm whether she had a protection order against Kropinak or not, saying he couldn't find a record of one. If she had one previously, he said, it must have expired. He confirmed that Kropinak did hold a conceal carry permit.
A protection order prohibits the person the order is against from having a firearm.
Panezott said the store's video surveillance showed the entire incident, which allowed them to determine it was a murder-suicide. They also had multiple witnesses who were interviewed, along with family members.
"By getting out of the car, she probably saved her friends who were in the car," he said.