Witness: Walmart shooter appeared to be targeting some people

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The Walmart supervisor who shot and killed six co-workers in Virginia appeared to target people and shot some victims when they had already been hit and appeared dead, said a witness who was present when the shooting began.

Jessica Wilczewski said workers were gathered in a store break room to start their night shift Tuesday night when crew chief Andre Bing walked in and opened fire with a handgun. While another witness described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said she saw him target some people.

“The way he was acting — he was going hunting,” Wilczewski told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The way he looked at people’s faces and the way he did what he did, he selected people.”

She said she saw him shoot people who were already on the ground.

“What I do know is that he made sure whoever he wanted to kill was dead,” she said. “He came back and shot corpses that were already dead. To assure.”

Wilczewski said she only worked at the store for five days and didn’t know who Bing got along with or had issues with. She said being a new employee may have been the reason she was spared.

She said that after the shooting began, a colleague sitting next to her pulled her under the table to hide. She said that at one point Bing told her to get out from under the table. But when he saw who she was, he told her, “Jessie, go home. She said she slowly stood up and then ran out of the store.

Police are trying to determine a motive, while former colleagues struggle to understand the rampage in Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people near the Virginia coast.

Some who worked with Bing, 31, said he had a reputation as an aggressive, even hostile supervisor, who has previously admitted to having “anger issues”. But he could also make people laugh and seemed to deal with the typical stress at work that many people endure.

“I don’t think he had a lot of people to rely on in his personal life,” said Nathan Sinclair, who worked at Walmart for nearly a year before leaving earlier this month.

During discussions between co-workers, “we would be like ‘work consumes my life.’ And (Bing) would be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t have a social life anyway,’” Sinclair recalled Thursday.

Sinclair said he and Bing didn’t get along. Bing was known to be “verbally hostile” to employees and was not particularly liked, Sinclair said. But there were times when Bing was laughed at and wasn’t necessarily treated fairly.

“You don’t know what he might have thought. … You never know if someone really doesn’t have any type of support group,” Sinclair said.

Overall, Bing seemed pretty normal to Janice Strausburg, who knew him from working at Walmart for 13 years before leaving in June.

Bing could be “cranky” but could also be “placid,” she said. He made people laugh and told Strausburg he loved dancing. When she invited him to church, he declined but mentioned that his mother had been a preacher.

Strausburg thought Bing’s bad mood was due to the stress that comes with any job. He also told her once that he had “had anger issues” and complained that he was “going to get the managers in trouble”.

She did not expect that.

“I think he had mental issues,” Strausburg said Thursday. “What else could it be?”

Tuesday night’s violence in Chesapeake was the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days. Bing was dead when officers reached the store in the state’s second-largest city. Authorities said he apparently committed suicide.

Police identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth. Also among the dead was a 16-year-old boy whose name has not been released due to his age, police said.

A Walmart spokesperson confirmed in an email that all of the victims worked for the company.

Krystal Kawabata, spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Va., confirmed the agency was assisting police with the investigation, but directed all inquiries to the Chesapeake Police Department, the agency main survey.

Another Walmart employee, Briana Tyler, said Bing seemed to shoot randomly.

“He was just shooting all over the room. It didn’t matter who he was hitting,” Tyler told the AP on Wednesday.

Six people were also injured in the shooting, which happened just after 10 p.m. as shoppers were stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe around 50 people were in the store at the time.

Bing was identified as an overnight shift supervisor who had been an employee of Walmart since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

Tyler said the 15- to 20-person overnight stocking crew had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan. Another team leader had started talking when Bing entered the room and opened fire, Tyler and Wiczewski said.

Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had worked with Bing just a night earlier, said she’s never had a negative encounter with him, but others have told her that he was “the manager to watch”. She said Bing used to text people for no reason.

The attack was the second major shooting in Virginia this month. Three University of Virginia football players were shot and killed on a November 13 bus while returning from a field trip. Two other students were injured.

The Walmart shooting also comes days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado – killing five people and injuring 17. Tuesday night’s shooting brought back memories of another attack in a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman killed 23 people in a store. in El Paso, Texas.

Wilczewski, who survived Tuesday’s shooting in Virginia, said she tried but couldn’t bring herself to visit a memorial in the store’s parking lot on Wednesday.

“I wrote a letter and wanted to get it out there,” she said. “I wrote to those I saw die. And I said I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger. I’m sorry you didn’t feel my touch. But you weren’t alone.


Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.

ABC News

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