Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside a Chesapeake, Va., Walmart on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. Andre Bing, a Walmart manager, opened fire on fellow employees in the break room of the Virginia store. , killing six people in the country’s second mass shooting in four days, police and witnesses said Wednesday. (Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — The Walmart supervisor who shot and killed six co-workers in Virginia appeared to be targeting people and fired at some victims after they were already hit and appeared to be dead, a witness who was present at the shooting said. . It started.
Jessica Wilczewski said workers were gathered in a store break room to begin their night shift late Tuesday when crew leader Andre Bing walked in and opened fire with a handgun. While another witness described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said she noticed him targeting certain people.
“The way he was acting — he was going hunting,” Wilczewski told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The way he looked at people’s faces and the way he did what he did, he chose people.”
She said she saw him shoot people who were already on the ground.
“What I do know is that he made sure that whoever wanted to die, was dead,” she said. “He came back and shot the bodies that were already dead. To be sure.”
Wilczewski said he had only worked at the store for five days and didn’t know who Bing was getting along with or who he had problems with. She said the fact that he was a new hire may have been the reason he spared her.
She said that after the shooting began, a co-worker sitting next to her pulled her under the table to hide. She said at one point, Bing told her to get out from under the table. But when he saw who it was, he said, “Jessie, go home.” She said she slowly got up and then ran out of the store.
Meanwhile, police try to determine a motive while former colleagues struggle to make sense of the chaos in Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 near the Virginia coast.
Some who worked with Bing said he had a reputation as an aggressive, if not hostile, supervisor who once admitted to having “anger issues.” But he also could make people laugh and seemed to be dealing with the typical workplace stresses that many people endure.
“I don’t think he had a lot of people to fall back on in his personal life,” said Nathan Sinclair, who worked at Walmart for nearly a year before leaving earlier this month.
During discussions between colleagues, “We’d be like, ‘work is consuming my life.’ And (Bing) would be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t have a social life anyway,'” Sinclair recalled Thursday.
Sinclair said he and Bing did not get along. Bing was known for being “verbally hostile” to employees and was not well liked, Sinclair said. But there were times when Bing was laughed at and not necessarily treated fairly.
“There’s no telling what they could have been thinking… You never know if someone really doesn’t have any kind of support group,” Sinclair said.
Overall, Bing seemed pretty normal to Janice Strausburg, who met him after working at Walmart for 13 years before leaving in June.
Bing could be “grumpy,” but he could also be “placid,” she said. He made people laugh and told Strausburg that he loved dancing. When she invited him to church, he declined, but mentioned that his mother had been a preacher.
Strausburg believed that Bing’s grumpiness was due to the stress that comes with any job. He also once told her that he “had anger issues” and complained that he would “get managers in trouble”.
He never expected this.
“I think he had mental issues,” Strausburg said Thursday. “What else could it be?”
Tuesday night’s violence in Chesapeake was the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days. Bing was dead when officers arrived at the store in the state’s second-largest city. Authorities said it appears he shot himself.
Police identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all of Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth. They said the dead included a 16-year-old boy whose name was withheld because of his age.
A Walmart spokesperson confirmed in an email that all of the victims worked for the company.
Krystal Kawabata, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Va., confirmed that the agency is assisting police in the investigation, but she referred all inquiries to the Chesapeake Police Department, the lead investigating agency.
Another Walmart employee, Briana Tyler, said Bing appeared to be shooting at random.
“He just shot across the room. It didn’t matter who he hit,” Walmart employee Briana Tyler told the AP on Wednesday.
Six people were also injured in the shooting, which happened just after 10 p.m., as shoppers were stocking up before the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe about 50 people were in the store at the time.
Bing, 31, was identified as an overnight team leader who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.
Tyler said the overnight storage team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning’s plan. Another squad leader had started talking when Bing entered the room and opened fire, Tyler and Wiczewski both said.
Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and worked with Bing just one night earlier, said she’s never had a negative encounter with him, but others have told her he’s “the manager which must be overlooked”. She said Bing had a history of writing people up for no reason.
The attack was the second major attack in Virginia this month. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a bus on Nov. 13 as they returned from a field trip. Two other students were injured.
The Walmart shooting also comes days after a man opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. — killing five people and wounding 17. Tuesday night’s shooting brought memories of another attack at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman killed 23 people in a convenience store. in El Paso, Texas.
Wilczewski, who survived Tuesday’s shooting in Virginia, said he tried but couldn’t bring himself to visit a memorial in the store’s parking lot Wednesday.
“I wrote a letter and wanted to put it out there,” she said. “I wrote to those I saw dying. And I said I’m sorry I wasn’t louder. I’m sorry you didn’t feel my touch. But you weren’t alone.”
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.