West News Wire: According to authorities and witnesses, a Walmart manager opened fire on coworkers who were gathering in the break room of a Virginia store on Wednesday. The second high-profile mass shooting in four days in the nation left six people dead.
According to Chesapeake Authorities Chief Mark G. Solesky, the shooter, who reportedly shot himself, was already dead when police discovered him. The shooting, which also left at least six others injured, including one gravely, lacked a clear motive.
A customer informed a local TV station that the supermarket was crowded just before the attack on Tuesday night as customers stocked up in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Employee Briana Tyler said the overnight stocking team of about 15 or 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan. She said the meeting was about to start, and her team leader said: “All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us,” when her manager turned around and opened fire on the staff.
“It is by the grace of God that a bullet missed me,” Tyler said. “I saw the smoke leaving the gun, and I literally watched bodies drop. It was crazy.”
Officials said on the City of Chesapeake Twitter account that three of the dead, including the gunman, 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 of their wounds.
Walmart identified the gunman as Andre Bing and confirmed that he was a team leader and had been with Walmart since 2010.
At first, Tyler didn’t think the shooting was real. “It was all happening so fast. I thought it was like a test type of thing. Like, if you do have an active shooter, this is how you respond.”
Tyler, who worked with the manager just the night before, said the assailant did not aim at anyone specific.
“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.”
Tyler, who started at Walmart two months ago, said she never had a negative encounter with the manager, but others told her that he was “the manager to look out for.” She said the manager had a history of writing people up for no reason.
“He just liked to pick, honestly. I think he just looked for little things to go about, 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,” she said.
Solesky said the shooter used a pistol. He couldn’t confirm whether the victims were all employees.
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 Nov. 13. Two other students were wounded.
The attack at the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people. Earlier in the year, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.