UNITED STATES NEWS

‘Bodies drop’ as Walmart manager kills 6 in Virginia attack

Nov 23, 2022, 5:45 AM | Updated: 10:45 pm
Law enforcement work the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesap...

Law enforcement work the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Chesapeake, Va. The store was busy just before the shooting Tuesday night with people stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A Walmart manager pulled out a handgun before a routine employee meeting and began firing wildly around the break room of a Virginia store, killing six people in the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days, police and witnesses said Wednesday.

The gunman was dead when officers arrived late Tuesday at the store in Chesapeake, Virginia’s second-largest city. Authorities said he apparently shot himself. Police were trying to determine a motive. One employee described watching “bodies drop” as the assailant fired haphazardly, without saying a word.

“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,” said Briana Tyler, a Walmart employee.

Six people were wounded in the shooting, which happened just after 10 p.m. as shoppers were stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe about 50 people were in the store at the time.

The gunman was identified as Andre Bing, 31, an overnight team leader who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had one handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

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 the shooting was real, thinking that it was an active shooter drill.

“It was all happening so fast,” she said, adding: “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.

“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,” she said.

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

Police said the dead included a 16-year-old boy whose name was being withheld because of his age. The other victims were identified as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of nearby Portsmouth.

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

Pyle was a “lovely, generous and kind person,” said Gwendolyn Bowe Baker Spencer, who said that her son and Pyle had plans to marry next year. Pyle had adult children in Kentucky who will be traveling to Virginia, Spencer said.

“We love her,” Spencer said, adding: “She was an awesome, kind individual.”

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 assault at the Walmart came days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, 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.

Tuesday night’s shooting also brought back memories of another attack at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who targeted Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 23 people.

A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every mass killing in America going back to 2006 shows that the U.S. has now had 40 mass killings so far in 2022. That compares with 45 for all of 2019, the highest year in the database, which 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 Oct. 21, spanning eight states and claiming 51 lives. Nine of those 11 incidents were shootings.

President Joe Biden tweeted that he and the first lady were grieving, adding: “We mourn for those who will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving table because of these tragic events.”

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 learn Jones’ whereabouts.

“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,” Shupe said. “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.”

In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, the company made a decision in September 2019 to discontinue sales of certain kinds of ammunition and asked that customers no longer openly carry firearms in stores.

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

The company stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s in every state but Alaska, where sales continued until 2019. The changes marked a complete exit from that business and allowed Walmart to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only.

Many of its stores are in rural areas where hunters depend on Walmart to get their equipment.

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

When he first heard the shots, he thought it could be balloons popping. But he soon saw other customers and employees fleeing, and he ran too.

Tate reached his car and called his granddaughter.

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

___

This story has been updated to correct the age of Tyneka Johnson to 22, according to new information from police. It also corrects the number of people killed in an El Paso shooting to 23.

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake; Michael Kunzelman and Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland; Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Virginia; Hannah Schoenbaum in Raleigh, North Carolina; Anne D’Innocenzio and Alexandra Olson in New York; news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York; and video journalist Nathan Ellgren in Chesapeake.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

FILE - Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper watches during warm ups before an NFL football game bet...
Associated Press

Panthers owner David Tepper scrutinized in criminal probe

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his real estate company are the focus of a criminal investigation to see if they misused any public money in their failed effort to build a practice facility for the NFL team. The York County Sheriff’s Office said state agents and local prosecutors are aiding […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Writers: Russian attacks seek ‘erasure’ of Ukrainian culture

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops in Ukraine are deliberately attacking the country’s museums, libraries and other cultural institutions, according to a report issued Friday by the U.S. and Ukrainian chapters of the international writers’ organization PEN. “Culture is not collateral damage in the war against Ukraine; it’s a target, a central pillar of Russian […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Two feral hogs are caught in a trap on a farm in rural Washington County, Mo., Jan. 27, 2019...
Associated Press

Feral hog control: 8 years, some progress, $2.5B damage/year

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Eight years into a U.S. program to control damage from feral pigs, the invasive animals with big appetites and snouts that uproot anything that smells good are still a multibillion-dollar plague on farmers, wildlife and the environment. These prolific hogs gone wild have been wiped out in 11 of the 41 […]
10 hours ago
A 3D-printed model of a MQ-9 Reaper drone is seen at at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 2, 2...
Associated Press

US forces monitor Mideast skies at Qatar base amid World Cup

AL-UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AP) — As World Cup fans throng stadiums across Qatar, about 8,000 American troops stationed just nearby watch over the airspace of the tumultuous Middle East from a major base run by this energy-rich nation. Built on a flat stretch of desert about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Qatari capital […]
10 hours ago
FILE - An election worker verifies a ballot on a screen inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office...
Associated Press

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts: ___ Arizona election equipment was certified ahead of midterms CLAIM: Election equipment in Arizona […]
10 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump announces a third run for president as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago...
Associated Press

Prosecution resumes closing argument at Trump Org. trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors resumed their closing argument Friday in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial, promising to share previously unrevealed details about Donald Trump’s knowledge of a tax dodge scheme hatched by one of his top executives. “Donald Trump knew exactly what was going on with his top executives,” Assistant Manhattan District […]
10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
‘Bodies drop’ as Walmart manager kills 6 in Virginia attack