CHESAPEAKE, Va., Nov 23 (Reuters) – A manager at a Walmart Inc. ( WMT.N ) in Virginia entered a break room and opened fire on co-workers before turning the gun on himself, a witness said Wednesday, leaving a total of seven dead in the latest mass shooting in the United States.
The gunman, identified as Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake, Va., said nothing as he began shooting at workers gathered before their shift late Tuesday, Walmart employee Briana Tyler told “Good ABC’s Morning America.
“I looked up and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” Tyler said. “He didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything at all.”
At least four people were injured in the shooting, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Soleski said at a news conference. He did not reveal a possible motive for the shooting, but said the suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Bing was armed with a single gun and was carrying multiple magazines of ammunition, according to a tweet from Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 south of Norfolk.
After the killing of five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday, the latest massacre prompted a fresh round of condemnations from public officials and calls from activists for stricter gun control.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the shooting “yet another horrific and senseless act of violence”, pledging that federal resources are needed to help the investigation.
“There are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” he said in a statement, pointing to a shooting earlier this month that left three University of Virginia students dead. “We need to take more action.”
Bing had worked for the company since 2010, most recently as an overnight team leader at the underground Walmart Supercenter just off Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake.
“Battlefield Walmart just got shot by one of my managers. He killed some people. By the grace of God I made it,” another employee, Kevin Harper, told CBS.
Jessie Wilczewski told WAVY-TV that she hid under a table and the shooter pointed a gun at her and told her to go home.
“It didn’t even seem real until you could feel the pow-pow-pow. You can feel it,” the store employee said. “I couldn’t hear it at first because I guess it was so loud. I could feel it.”
Tuesday’s bloodshed marked the latest spasm in gun violence in the United States, where an average of two mass shootings — defined as an incident that kills or injures four or more people — occurs each day, according to GunViolenceArchive.org.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, already facing increased calls for policies to address gun violence in the wake of the University of Virginia killings, ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on local, state and federal buildings.
Kimberly Shupe told WAVY-TV that her son Jalon Jones, 24, was stable after being shot in the ear and back. He told her he arrived for his night shift around 10 p.m. and that in their night meeting his manager was acting “weird” and “then he started shooting,” he told the news station.
Dr. Jessica Burgess, a surgeon who treated victims at a Norfolk hospital where two people died, two were in critical condition and one was recovering, said she contacted a colleague in Colorado Springs just two days ago to offer support.
“So it’s very disappointing that I’m now in the same position as my colleagues from all over the country scrutinizing me and my team,” Burgess said. “Sometimes there’s only so much we can do when the injuries are already done.”
This is not the first mass shooting at Walmart, which has thousands of stores across the country.
At a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, 23 people were killed in a mass shooting near the US-Mexico border in an act described as domestic terrorism by law enforcement. It was also the deadliest attack on the Hispanic community in modern times. Patrick Wood Crusius, then 21, of Allen, Texas, was arrested in the shooting and left behind a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes.
“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at our Chesapeake, VA store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday.
Reporting by Rich McKay, Susan Heavey, Bharat Govind Gautam, Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Shubham Kalia. Additional reporting by Juby Babu. Editing by Gerry Doyle, Nick Macfie, Gareth Jones and Mark Porter
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