Police: Walmart shooter bought gun just hours before killing

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A Walmart supervisor who shot and killed six co-workers in Virginia left what he called a “death note” on his phone apologizing for what he was about to do while simultaneously blaming others for mocking him.

“I’m sorry everyone but I didn’t plan this, I promise that things are just the way the devil leads them,” Andre Bing wrote in a note left on his phone, Chesapeake Police said Friday.

Police also said the gun, a 9 mm handgun, was legally purchased on the morning of the shooting and that Bing has no criminal record.

This note was redacted slightly to remove the name of the specific person he mentioned.

He claimed he was “harassed by idiots with low intelligence and lack of tact” and said he was driven by the notion that his phone had been hacked.

He wrote, “My only wish is to start over from scratch and that my parents would pay more attention to my social deficit.” Bing died at the scene of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Coworkers of Bing who survived the shooting said he was difficult and known to be hostile to employees. A survivor said Bing seemed to target people and fired at several victims after they had been hit and appeared to be dead, said witnesses who were present when the shooting began.

Jessica Wilczewski said workers gathered in the store’s break room to begin their overnight shift late Tuesday when Bing, the team leader, entered and opened fire with a handgun. While another witness has described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said he observed that he targeted certain people.

“The way he’s acting — he’s going hunting,” Wilczewski told The Associated Press on Thursday.

She said she saw him shoot people who were already in the house.

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“All I know is that he made sure he wanted to die, to die,” she said. “He went back and shot the dead body. To make sure.”

Wilczewski said he had only worked at the store for five days and didn’t know who Bing was getting along with or had a problem with. He said that being a new employee might be the reason he was shunned.

She said that after the shooting started, a co-worker sitting next to her pulled her under the table to hide. He said that at one point, Bing told him to get out from under the table. But when he saw who she was, he told her, “Jessie, go home.” He said he slowly got up and ran out of the store.

Former colleagues and residents of Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people near the Virginia coast, have struggled to make sense of the rampage.

Some who worked with Bing, 31, said he had a reputation for being an aggressive, if not hostile, supervisor, who once admitted to having an “anger problem.” But he also manages to make people laugh and seems to deal with the general workplace stress that many people go through.

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

In a conversation between colleagues, “We would be like ‘work is taking up my life.’ And (Bing) would be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t have a social life,’ ” Sinclair recalled Thursday.

Sinclair said that Bing did not get along. Bing was known to be “verbally hostile” to employees and was not well liked, Sinclair said. But there are times when Bing is made fun and not necessarily treated fairly.

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“Nobody said what he was thinking. … You never know when someone really doesn’t have any kind of support group,” said Sinclair.

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

Bing can be “grumpy” but he can also be “calm,” she says. He made people laugh and told Strausburg that he liked to dance. When he invites her to church, she declines but says her mother used to be a preacher.

Strausburg thought Bing’s grumpiness was due to the stresses that come with any job. He also once told her that she “had anger issues” and complained that she would “get the managers in trouble.”

She never expected this.

“I think he has some mental issues,” Strausburg said Thursday. “What else can it be?”

Tuesday night’s violence in Chesapeake was the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days.

Police have identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kelly Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of near Portsmouth. The dead also included a 16-year-old boy whose name was withheld because of his age, police said.

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

Another Walmart employee, Briana Tyler, has said that Bing appeared to fire at random.

“He just shoots all over the room. It doesn’t matter who he hits,” 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 before the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe about 50 people were in the store at the time.

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Bing was identified as a one-night team leader who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

Tyler said the overnight stocking team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to plan tomorrow’s plans. Another team leader had started speaking when Bing entered the room and opened fire, Tyler and Wiczewski said.

Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had been working with Bing just one night before, said he’s never had a negative encounter with him, but others say he’s “a manager to watch out for.” She said Bing had a history of writing up people without reason.

The attack was the second major shooting in Virginia this month. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a bus Nov. 13 as they returned from a field trip. Two other students were injured.

The Walmart shooting also came days after someone opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado – killing five and injuring 17. Tuesday night’s shooting brought to mind another attack at 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 he tried but could not bring himself to visit the memorial in the store’s parking lot on Wednesday.

“I wrote a letter and I wanted to put it out there,” she said. “I wrote to the one I saw dying. And I said I’m sorry I wasn’t louder. I’m sorry you can’t feel my touch. But you’re not alone.

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Barakat reported from Falls Church, Virginia. Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.

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