By Dell Dumont
On Nov. 23, a Walmart store supervisor in Chesapeake, Virginia, killed six people as shoppers stocked up for Thanksgiving.
Andre Bing, the 31-year-old gunman, was an overnight team leader and a Walmart employee since 2010. Bing reportedly possessed one handgun and several magazines of ammunition. Reports show that Bing had no previous criminal record and had legally purchased the 9mm handgun used in the shooting that morning.
Jessica Wilczewski, who only began working five days prior to the shooting, shared that 15 to 20 workers gathered in a store break room to begin their overnight shift when Bing entered and opened fire. Wilczewski explained, “He was pointing people out…he went straight toward the other managers.” She said she hid under a table after the shooting began and that at one point, Bing told her to get out from under the table. But when he saw who she was, he told her, “Jessie, go home.” According to Chesapeake police, Bing later took his own life and was found dead when police arrived. “I will never go back in that store again,” Wilczewski commented while fighting back tears.
The Chesapeake Police released a copy of the note found on Bing’s phone that redacted the names of specific people he mentioned. His suicide note consisted of 11 paragraphs. Throughout the rambling letter, Bing directed his anger at his coworkers, making several references to the “management team” and “the associates” who he said “laughed and made subtle code speeches which I eventually figured out”. He wrote how people unfairly compared him to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and noted, “I would have never killed anyone who entered my home.” Bing also claimed that his “intent was never murder” but suggested that his phone being allegedly hacked was the tipping point for him.
Police have identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Randy Blevins, 70; and Fernando Chavez-Barron, 16, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of nearby Portsmouth. Two others who were shot remain hospitalized. One is in critical condition, and the other is in fair condition on a path to improvement.
Walmart spokespersons said management will cooperate and work with local law enforcement in the investigation. “We feel tragedies like this personally and deeply. But this one is especially painful as we have learned the gunman was a Walmart associate,” President and CEO of Walmart US John Furner said in a statement. “The entire Walmart family is heartbroken. Our hearts and prayers are with those impacted.”
(Sources: AP News, Reuters, NY Times, 13 News)