Worker appalled by falling bodies in Virginia Walmart attack

Worker appalled by falling bodies in Virginia Walmart attack
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Police and witnesses describing Tuesday’s mass murder at a Virginia Walmart said an official pulled out a handgun before a routine employee meeting and began firing wildly around the break room.

Six people died and six others were injured in the attack, which was the country’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days.

An employee described seeing “bodies falling” as the attacker fired at random, without saying a word.

“He was just shooting all over the room. It didn’t matter who he was hitting. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t look at anyone in a specific way,” employee Briana Tyler said Wednesday.

Briana Tyler speaks with The Associated Press about witnessing the mass shooting at a Walmart on November 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

The shooter was dead when officers arrived at the store in Chesapeake, Virginia’s second-largest city. Authorities said he apparently committed suicide. The police were trying to determine a motive.

The shooting happened just after 10 p.m. as shoppers stocked up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe around 50 people were in the store at the time.

The shooter was identified as Andre Bing, 31, a night shift supervisor who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

Tyler said the 15- to 20-person overnight stocking crew had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan. She said the meeting was about to start, and a team leader said, “Okay, guys, we’ve got a light night ahead of us.” Then Bing turned and opened fire on the personnel.

At first, Tyler doubted the shooting was real, thinking it was an active shooting exercise.

“It all happened so fast,” she said, adding, “It was by the grace of God that a bullet missed me. I saw the smoke coming out of the gun and I literally seen bodies falling. It was crazy.”

Police said three of the dead, including Bing, were found in the rest room. One of the victims was found near the storefront. Three others were taken to hospitals where they died.

A Vehicle Belonging To Shooter Andre Bing Is Stuck With Police Crime Scene Tape In The Parking Lot Of A Walmart Supercenter, Nov. 23, 2022, In Chesapeake, Virginia.

A vehicle belonging to shooter Andre Bing is stuck with police crime scene tape in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had worked with Bing just a night earlier, said she’s never had a negative encounter with him, but others have told her that he was “the manager to watch”. She said Bing used to write about people for no reason.

“He just liked to choose, honestly. I think he was just looking for little things…because he had the authority. He’s just the kind of person he was. That’s what a lot of people were saying. of him,” she said.

Employee Jessie Wilczewski told Norfolk TV station WAVY that she hid under the table, and Bing looked at her and pointed his gun at her. He told her to go home and she left.

Fbi Agents Gather Outside The Home Of Andre Bing, November 23, 2022, In Chesapeake, Virginia.  Bing, A Walmart Manager, Opened Fire On Co-Workers The Night Before In A Virginia Store Break Room.

FBI agents gather outside the home of Andre Bing, November 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia. Bing, a Walmart manager, opened fire on co-workers the night before in a Virginia store break room.

Police said the dead included a 16-year-old boy whose name has not been released due to his age. The other victims have been identified as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth.

It was not immediately clear whether they were workers or buyers.

The attack was the second time in just over a week that Virginia suffered a major shooting. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot in a charter bus as they returned to campus from a field trip on November 13. Two other students were injured.

The attack at Walmart came days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 17. Last spring, the country was rocked by the deaths of 21 people when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

A First Responder Checks A Car Parked At The Scene Of A Mass Shooting At A Walmart, Nov. 23, 2022, In Chesapeake, Virginia.

A first responder checks a car parked at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Tuesday night’s shooting also brought back memories of another Walmart attack in 2019, when a gunman who targeted Mexicans opened fire on a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 22 people.

VOA SPECIAL REPORT: History of the Mass Shooters.

A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks all mass murders in America since 2006 shows that the United States has now had 40 mass murders so far in 2022. This is compares to 45 for all of 2019, the highest. total for any year in the database, which defines a massacre as at least four people killed, not counting the killer.

According to the database, more than a quarter of the massacres have taken place since October 21, spanning eight states and leaving 51 people dead. Nine of those 11 incidents were shootings.

Notably, the database does not include the recent shooting at the University of Virginia because that attack did not meet the threshold of four fatalities, not including the shooter.

President Joe Biden tweeted that he and the first lady mourn the families of the victims. “We mourn those who will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving table because of these tragic events – we need to take greater action.”

Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price Speaks To Reporters After A Mass Shooting At A Walmart On Nov. 23, 2022, In Chesapeake, Virginia.

Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price speaks to reporters after a mass shooting at a Walmart on Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Kimberly Shupe, mother of Walmart worker Jalon Jones, told reporters her 24-year-old son was shot in the back. She said he was in good condition and speaking on Wednesday, after initially being placed on a ventilator.

Shupe said she learned of the shooting from a friend, who went to a family reunification center to find out where Jones was.

“If he’s not answering his phone, he’s not answering texts and there’s a shooting at his work, you just put two and two together,” Shupe said. “It was a shock at first, but eventually I kept thinking he was going to pull through.”

Walmart said in a statement it was working with law enforcement and “focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families.”

In the aftermath of the El Paso shootings, the company decided in September 2019 to stop selling certain types of ammunition and asked customers to no longer openly carry guns in stores.

It stopped selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barreled rifle ammunition, such as the .223 and 5.56 calibers used in military-style weapons.

The company ceased selling handguns in the mid-1990s in all states except Alaska, where sales continued through 2019. The changes marked a complete exit from that business and allowed Walmart to focus solely on shotguns and related ammunition.

Many of its stores are in rural areas where hunters depend on Walmart for their gear.

Tyler’s grandfather, Richard Tate, said he dropped his granddaughter off for her 10 p.m. shift, then parked the car and went to buy some dish soap.

When he first heard the gunshots, he thought they might be balloons bursting. But he soon saw other customers and employees running away, and he ran away too.

Tate reached her car and called her granddaughter.

“I could tell she was upset,” he said. “But I could also tell she was alive.”

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