Virginia Walmart shooting: Victims remain hospitalized days after mass shooting at a Virginia Walmart that left 6 employees dead



CNN

As authorities investigate this week’s mass shooting inside a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, at least two employees remain hospitalized after a manager killed six co-workers before taking his own life.

The shooting Tuesday night — two days before Thanksgiving — began minutes after 10 p.m. inside the employee break room, where some workers were getting ready to start their night shift.

In addition to the six employees who did not survive, others continue to receive medical treatment.

One victim was hospitalized in critical condition on Thanksgiving Day, while another was in “fair/improving condition,” Chesapeake city officials said in a tweet Thursday. A second victim was released Wednesday, a spokesman for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital told CNN.

“On this Thanksgiving, we are extra thankful for our community and our thoughts are with all the victims of the Walmart shooting and their family members,” Chesapeake city officials said said online.

“Today we are only focused on those injured by Tuesday’s tragic event, but the police investigation continues,” officials said, adding that further information would be provided on Friday.

Those killed are Randy Blevins, 70, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, Tyneka Johnson, 22, Brian Pendleton, 38, Kellie Pyle, 52, and a 16-year-old boy, who authorities say is not being named because he is a minor. .

As police work to determine a motive for one of at least three mass shootings in Virginia this month, Chesapeake officials have announced a vigil for victims planned for Monday evening in City Park.

“Chesapeake is a close-knit community and we are all shaken,” Mayor Rick West said in a message posted online earlier this week. “Together we will support each other through this time.”

The tragedy, which came as many in the community were preparing to spend the holiday with family and friends, has sparked an outpouring of grief and trauma over the loss of loved ones in yet another mass shooting in the United States.

Another Virginia community has also suffered the pain of lives lost to gun violence. About 170 miles west of Chesapeake, a 22-year-old student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville has been arrested and charged after opening fire on fellow students Nov. 13, killing three of them on a bus returning to campus from a field trip . to Washington, DC.

Grief has also permeated a Colorado community last weekend, when a 22-year-old suspect shot and killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs and wounded 19 others, authorities said.

Those shootings, among many others, have put the United States on an ominous track to make 2022 the second-highest year for mass shootings on record, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that began tracking the cases in 2014.

The shooting in Chesapeake this week erupted suddenly, and witnesses said they were in shock and disbelief when they saw the gunman point a firearm at them.

Walmart employee Kevin Harper said the shooter entered the break room and immediately began shooting.

“He got in there and just started spraying,” Harper said in a social media video.

The perpetrator has been identified as Andre Bing, who worked as a “team leader” overnight. The 31-year-old had worked for Walmart since 2010, the company said. Authorities have said he had a semi-automatic handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

Two victims were killed and the shooter was found in the break room, another victim was found in front of the store and three others died at the hospital, Chesapeake city officials said.

Jessie Wilczewski, who was recently hired, told CNN she was in a regular meeting when the shooting began.

At first, it “didn’t register as real,” she said, until the sound of the gunshots echoed through her chest.

Wilczewski hid under a table as the gunman walked down a nearby hallway. She could see some of her colleagues on the floor or lying on chairs – all quiet and some probably dead, she said. She stayed because she didn’t want to leave them alone.

“I could have run out that door … and I stayed. I stayed so they wouldn’t be alone in their final moments,” Wilczewski said in a message to the families of two victims.

When the shooter returned to the break room, Wilczewski said, he told her to get out from under the table and go home.

“I had to touch the door, which was covered in blood,” she said. “I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back — well, he’s going to have to try really hard because 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 FBI is investigating Tuesday's fatal mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Briana Tyler, also a new employee, said she saw bullets flying just inches from her face.

“All of a sudden you just hear pa pa pa pa pa pa,” Tyler said. “There were people just falling to the floor,” she said. “Everybody was screaming, gasping, and yeah, he just walked away after that and just continued through the store and just kept shooting.

In addition to the shooting in Chesapeake this week, gun violence has turned many ordinary places into crime scenes around the country — from schools and supermarkets to hospitals and shopping malls.

Brett Cross, whose nephew Uziyah Garcia was killed in a school massacre in Texas this year, described a deep sense of loss without the 10-year-old boy this holiday season.

A gunman had opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May, killing 19 fourth-graders and their two teachers before authorities shot and killed him.

“6 months since our world was shattered and I’m supposed to ‘celebrate the holidays,'” Cross wrote in a social media post on Thanksgiving Day. “How do you celebrate when you’re broken. How do you give thanks when you have nothing left to give. How do you fake it and smile when you wake up crying.”

In 2018, a former student killed 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Fred Guttenberg, father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, who was killed in that shooting, said there is more work to be done in the fight against gun violence.

“Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, many families will do so with an empty seat at the table due to gun violence,” Guttenberg wrote in a posts on social media on Thanksgiving.

Nicole Hockley lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.

“My life had been thrown into sorrow and turmoil. I felt that I was at the bottom of a gigantic hole from which I could never climb out. I did not know how to help myself, never mind them, i loved,” Hockley wrote online in a Thanksgiving message.

“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.”

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