CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Authorities say six people were killed in a mass shooting Tuesday night at a Walmart just off Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, Virginia.
The suspect also took his own life, police say.
Police say there were multiple counts of both dead and injured found inside the building, where the shooting occurred. A greeter on duty at the time told WAVY the shooting started in the back of the store. One person was also found deceased outside the front entrance.
The call reporting the shooting came in at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday, when the Walmart Supercenter was still open to the public. Night shift workers had just recently checked in.
Chesapeake held an 8 a.m. news conference Wednesday with updates on the investigation. Police Chief Mark Solesky confirmed the gunman was an employee at the store, and he used a pistol. On Wednesday afternoon, Walmart officials confirmed the identity of the shooter as Andre Bing, a Walmart associate who served as a team lead on the overnight shift.
Read the full statement from Walmart below:
While details of the tragic incident in our Chesapeake, Virginia store are still emerging, authorities have confirmed multiple fatalities. We are focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families at this time. The alleged shooter has been identified as Andre Bing. We can confirm that he was a Walmart associate. Andre’s position with the company was overnight team lead and he’s been employed with us since 2010. We are thankful for the local first responders and will continue to work with local law enforcement as they continue their investigation.Walmart Spokesperson
Six people have died from their injuries, Solesky said. The gunman is believed to have died from a self-inflicted wound.
A spokesperson for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, the area’s closest level 1 trauma center, confirmed five patients were being treated there. Two of those patients later died, two remain in critical condition and one patient is listed in good condition.
10 On Your Side confirmed with Chesapeake Regional that it treated five patients from the Tuesday night shooting. One of those patients passed away from their injuries; the remaining four have been released from the hospital, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
Police identified five of the six victims on Wednesday night. The sixth victim was a 16-year-old male, who’s not been identified by police because he was a minor.
The victims identified are 38-year-old Brian Pendleton of Chesapeake, 70-year-old Randy Blevins of Chesapeake, 52-year-old Kellie Pyle of Chesapeake, 43-year-old Lorenzo Gamble of Chesapeake and 22-year-old Tyneka Johnson of Portsmouth.
10 On Your Side’s KaMaria Braye interviewed an employee at the Walmart who witnessed the shooting.
According to the witness, there were 14 employees in a meeting room waiting to learn their duties for the day when the shooting began.
The witness added that she believes the shooting was planned and targeted other managers at that specific Walmart. At one point, the witness tells 10 On Your Side she heard the suspect laughing.
A massive police response mobilized outside of the store after the shooting was reported, with FBI agents and Virginia Beach police responding to assist Chesapeake. The ATF in Washington tweeted just after midnight that they were also on the way to help in the investigation. Police entered the store after getting the call and continued to find victims for about 30 to 45 minutes, Kosinski said.
The Chesapeake Conference Center was set up as a reunification spot for store employees and their families.
Employees also gathered at the nearby Sam’s Club, where attendance was being taken. A night shift employee who spoke with WAVY’s Brett Hall said “thank goodness I showed up late.”
The mother of an employee said she heard the shots when she was on the phone with her son. He was physically OK after the shooting.
Meanwhile, an employee who said she was inside the store at the time told WAVY that a teenage employee was shot.
Walmart shared a statement on Wednesday morning, saying: “We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. 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.”
The shooting left many shocked, as current and former employees at the Walmart who spoke with WAVY said the store felt like home.
“I’ve been on the phone with a few other friends who were former employees, and customers, and we’re all just in disbelief,” a former employee at the store said Wednesday morning while trying to get answers about the injured at the convention center.
WAVY’s Craig Loper spoke to Debra Hazlett, whose brother was one of the shooting victims, outside of Norfolk General on Wednesday morning. The victim, who has worked at the Chesapeake Walmart for about 20 years, called his family around 10:18 p.m. and said he’d been shot. Hazlett says it’s comforting to know he’s been talking. He had only been clocked in for about 10 minutes when he was shot.
Comedian Jay Pharoah, a “Saturday Night Live” alum from Chesapeake, wrote: “This happened right down the street from my neighborhood in Chesapeake at the Walmart that my family and I have gone to for years. My heart is broken for those who aren’t getting a chance to come home and my condolences to the families who have to suffer through their losses. If I’m thankful for anything this holiday it’s my families life and mine. Thank God we didn’t get caught in it, my mother was just there today, I pray everybody I know is okay. I pray for those who I don’t know. Pray for Chesapeake, keep Va in your hearts this holiday season.”
Virginia state Sen. Louise Lucas, who represents that portion of Chesapeake, shared a statement on Tuesday night, saying “I am absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia tonight. I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives.”
Multiple other Virginia elected officials shared tweets and other statements early Wednesday morning: