Virginia: Walmart survivor recalls shooting
Shooter Andre Bing
Andre Marcus Bing has been named as the Walmart employee who emarked on a bloody Thanksgiving Holiday shooting spree gunning down six people before turning a weapon on himself.
The 31-year-old was named by Walmart on Wednesday. Police were called to a branch of the supermarket chain in Chesapeake, Virginia, at 10.12pm on Tuesday after reports of a shooting.
Since then, Chesapeake officers confirmed seven people had been killed, including the shooter. Most bodies were found inside, however one person was found dead in the parking lot.
President Joe Biden tweeted that he and the first lady were grieving for the victims’ families. “We mourn for those who will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving table because of these tragic events – we must take greater action.”
A local resident in Chesapeake, just learning about the shooting, told Express.co.uk: “It feels scary man – it’s sad.”
Mayor Rick W West said he is “devastated by the senseless act of violence”.
A Walmart spokesman said: “The alleged shooter has been identified as Andre Bing. We can confirm that he was a Walmart associate.
“Andre’s position with the company was overnight team lead and he’s been employed with us since 2010.”
Police said Bing was armed with one handgun and several magazines of ammunition.
An account from an employee, circulating on social media after the shooting, describes how Bing entered a staff “break room” and “started capping people”.
He added: “Sadly we lost a few of our associates… The manager came in and started dumping man.
“As soon as I left out the break room, he went in there man, by the grace of God.”
Another employee described watching “bodies drop” as the assailant fired haphazardly, without saying a word.
Briana Tyler said: “He was just shooting all throughout the room. It didn’t matter who he hit. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t look at anybody in any specific type of way.”
Police said there were around 50 people inside the retail outlet busy stocking up for the Thanksgiving Holiday when the senseless violence unfolded. It’s not know if any customers are among those slain.
Tyler said the overnight stocking team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan. She said the meeting was about to start, and one team leader said: “All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us.” Then Bing turned around and opened fire on the staff.
At first, Tyler doubted whether the shooting was real, thinking that it was an active shooter drill.
She said: “It was all happening so fast. It is by the grace of God that a bullet missed me. I saw the smoke leaving the gun, and I literally watched bodies drop. It was crazy.”
Police said three of the dead, including Bing, were found in the break room. One of the slain victims was found near the front of the store. Three others were taken to hospitals where they died.
Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had worked with Bing just a night earlier, said she never had a negative encounter with him, but others told her he was “the manager to look out for.” She said Bing had a history of writing people up for no reason.
She said: “He just liked to pick, honestly. I think he just looked for little things … because he had the authority. That’s just the type of person that he was. That’s what a lot of people said about him.”
Shooting victim Tyneka Johnson
An officer stands guard
Kimberly Shupe, mother of Walmart employee Jalon Jones, told reporters her 24-year-old son was shot in the back. She said he was in good condition and talking 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 Jones’ whereabouts.
Mrs Shupe said: “If he’s not answering his phone, he’s not answering text messages and there’s a shooting at his job, you just kind of put two and two together. It was shock at first, but ultimately, I just kept thinking, he’s going to be all right.”
Walmart said in a statement that it was working with law enforcement and “focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families.”
A number of people were also injured in the shooting, with at least four treated in area hospitals.
Chesapeake Mayor Rick W West has said he is “devastated by the senseless act of violence”.
In a statement, Mr West said: “Chesapeake is a tight knit community and we are all shaken by this news. Together, we will support each other throughout this time. Please keep us in your prayers.”
Chesapeake Police Chief Mark G. Solesky said the shooter used a pistol. He could not confirm whether the victims were all employees.
Employee Jessie Wilczewski told Norfolk television station WAVY that she hid under the table and the shooter looked at her with his gun pointed at her. He told her to go home and she left.
“It didn’t even look real until you could feel the … ‘pow-pow-pow,’ you can feel it,” Ms Wilczewski said. “I couldn’t hear it at first because I guess it was so loud, I could feel it.”
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Walmart scene with emergency services
Walmart shooting survivor Briana Tyler
Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted that he was in contact with law enforcement officials in Chesapeake, Virginia’s second-largest city, which lies next to the seaside communities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Mr Youngkin wrote: “Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning. Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities.” He ordered that flags be lowered over all government buildings until sunset Sunday.
The attack was the second time in a little more than a week that Virginia has experienced a major shooting. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a charter bus as they returned to campus from a field trip on November 13. Two other students were wounded.
The assault at the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. Last spring, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
It also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who targeted Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 22 people.
Florals tributes left at the scene
A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University which tracks every mass killing in America going back to 2006 shows the number this year has been about average, despite recent shootings capturing public attention.
The US has now had 40 mass killings so far in 2022, compared with 45 for all of 2019. The database defines a mass killing as at least four people killed, not including the killer.
According to the database, more than a quarter of the mass killings have occurred since October 21, spanning eight states and claiming 51 lives. 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 dead, not including the shooter.