The gunman who shot and killed six people at a Walmart in Chesapeake, VA, earlier this week legally purchased the gun hours before the massacre. He had one semi-automatic handgun and several magazines of ammunition. He also left what he titled a “death note” on his phone detailing grievances with various people in his life.
According to details released by the Chesapeake police on Friday, the Walmart supervisor wrote about his intentions to target colleagues while sparing others. Five out of six victims were his coworkers.
The gunman, who has been identified as 31-year-old Andre Bing, had no criminal history. Bing was an overnight team lead and had worked at Walmart since 2010.
Members of the overnight team described it as tight-knit group, often meeting in the break room where the shooting began. The employees were in the room at around 10 pm preparing to start their Tuesday night shift when Bing entered and started to open fire.
Co-workers who survived the shooting said Bing was known for being difficult and hostile with other employees. The note on Bing’s personal phone outlined how employees in the store compared him to a serial killer and often mocked him.
One survivor, Jessica Wilczewski, told The Associated Press that Bing was acting like “he was going hunting” during the shooting. Bing also returned to shoot victims who had already been hit and no longer moving.
“The way he was looking at people’s faces and the way he did what he did, he was picking people out.”
In his 11 paragraph “death note,” Bing claimed that he was “harassed by idiots with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom.” He also apologized for what he was going to do, saying, “things just fell in place like I was led by Satan.” He resented being compared to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, stating, “I would have never killed anyone who entered my home.”
“My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and that my parents would have paid closer attention to my social deficit.”
Wilczewski had only been working at the store for five days before the massacre. During the shooting, another co-worker pulled her under a table to hide. Bing told her to get out from under the table, but when he saw who she was, he told her, “Jessie, go home.”
Wilczewski then ran out of the store. Wilczewski believes he did not shoot her because she was a new employee.
“I had to touch the door which was covered (in blood). I just remember gripping my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back – well, he’s going to have to try really hard cause I’m running,’ and I booked it. … and I didn’t stop until I got to my car and then I had a meltdown.”
The Chesapeake police released a statement outlining the details of the shooting. Bing was dead upon police arrival at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was “dressed in civilian clothing and was not wearing any type of armor or a ballistic vest.” A SWAT team search of his residence found “various items in reference to the 9 mm handgun (box, receipt, other paperwork).”
“The gun was legally purchased from a local store on the morning of Tuesday.”
Police have identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Randy Blevins, 70, and Tyneka Johnson, 22. A 16-year-old boy, whose name was withheld, was also killed. Two victims remain hospitalized, with one being in critical condition.
At the time of the shooting, there were 50 people in the store, stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The shooting comes just a few days after another mass shooting in Colorado Springs, CO, where a gunman killed five people and wounded 19 others at an LGBTQ nightclub.
Two weeks ago, a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA shot and killed three other students on a bus.
After the massacre in Colorado, President Joe Biden addressed the nation condemning the violence.
“Today, yet another community in America has been torn apart by gun violence. More families left with an empty chair at the table and hole in their lives that cannot be filled. When will we decide we’ve had enough? We must address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all of its forms.”
As reported by CNN, Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son Dylan to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, wrote a Thanksgiving message online about her first few months of grief.
“My life had been thrown into sadness and turmoil. I felt like I was at the bottom of a gigantic hole that I could never climb out of. I didn’t know how to help myself, never mind those I loved, but in the weeks and months that followed, and with the support of those around me, I found a renewed sense of purpose. To keep other children and families from enduring the same fate.”
Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, wrote on social media that, “we have more work to do.”
“Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, many families will do so with an empty seat at the table because of gun violence.”
Officials have organized a vigil for the victims on Monday at City Park.
Moumita Basuroychowdhury is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest. After earning an economics degree at Cornell University, she moved to NYC to pursue her MFA in creative writing. She enjoys reporting on science, business and culture news. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.