CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A Chesapeake, Virginia Walmart employee shot and killed six people before turning the gun on himself Tuesday night in a mass killing that struck the nation just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Officers responded to the retail store in Chesapeake just before 10:15 p.m. for reports of a shooting.
Investigators confirmed on Wednesday that six people were killed in the attack and six were hospitalized with unknown injuries. One of those six patients remains in critical condition at this time. The suspected shooter, who police confirmed was an employee of the store, also died from what they say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police later identified the gunman as Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake, Virginia. Walmart said in a statement that Bing was an overnight team leader and had been with the company since 2010.
Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake, Virginia. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Police searched the shooter's home and said they have no reason to believe there is a threat to the community. Police say the gunman used a pistol in the attack, and he had multiple gun magazines on his person.
Police believe at least 50 people may have been inside the store at the time of the attack, and they are asking anyone who was, or may have information on the incident, to call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI.
Investigators identified the victims as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, and Tyneka Johnson, but did not specify their ages. The sixth victim was a 16-yo male who will remain unidentified because he is a minor.
Lorenzo Gamble. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Brian Pendleton. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Kellie Pyle. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Randy Blevins. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Tyneka Johnson. (PHOTO: Chesapeake Police Department)
Employee Briana Tyler, who was at the store during the attack, 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 a team leader said: "All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us," when Bing 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."
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 Bing just the night before, said he 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 Bing, but others told her that 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 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.
A clear motive for the shooting has not yet been identified.
Police say the Walmart store will be closed for several days as detectives investigate the incident.
"We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store.," read a statement posted to Walmart's Twitter page. "We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates."
According to the company, an associate resource center has been set up for any employees, or their family members, who were impacted by the tragedy. The center will offer "associates and their families with counseling, meals and a place to connect with each other." It will be open until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Springhill Suites, located at 1446 Crossways Boulevard. Then starting tomorrow, it will move to the Delta Hotel by Marriott located at 725 Woodlake Drive. The center will remain open there from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for the next two weeks.
President Joe Biden called the shooting "horrific and senseless act of violence" in a statement released Wednesday morning.
"I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our city," Mayor Rick W. West said in a statement posted on the city's Twitter account Wednesday. "Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news."
"Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning," said Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in a tweet Wednesday morning. "I remain in contact with law enforcement officials throughout this morning and have made available any resources as this investigation moves forward. Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities." Youngkin ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state and federal buildings until Sunday at sunset.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said in a tweet that he was "sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake."
State Sen. Louise Lucas echoed Warner's sentiment, tweeting that she was "absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district."
The shooting comes less than two weeks after three University of Virginia student football players were shot and killed by a fellow student onboard a bus on campus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.