CHESAPEAKE, Va., Nov 23 (Reuters) – A manager at a Walmart Inc. store. (WMT.N) in Virginia entered a break room and opened fire on fellow employees before turning the gun on himself, an eyewitness 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, Virginia, said nothing when he began shooting at workers gathered before a late shift Tuesday, Walmart employee Briana Tyler told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I looked up and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” Tyler said. “He didn’t say anything. He didn’t say anything.”
At least four people were injured in the shooting, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky told a press conference. He did not disclose a possible motive for the shooting, but said the suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Bing was armed with a single handgun and was carrying several magazines of ammunition, according to a tweet from Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people south of Norfolk.
Coming on the heels of the killing of five people in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub on Saturday, the latest massacre prompted another round of condemnations by public officials and calls by activists for tighter gun control.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the shooting “a horrific and senseless act of violence,” vowing any federal resources would be needed to help the investigation.
“Now more tables across the country will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” he said in a statement, citing a shooting earlier this month that left three University of Virginia students dead. “We need to take greater action.”
Bing has worked at the company since 2010, most recently as an overnight team leader at the cavernous Walmart Supercenter just off Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake.
“The Battlefield Walmart was just shot by one of my managers. He killed several people. By the grace of God I got out,” another worker, 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 doesn’t even look real until you can feel the pow-pow-pow. You can feel it,” said the shop worker. “I couldn’t hear it at first because I guess it was very loud. I could feel it.”
Tuesday’s bloodshed marked the latest spasm of gun violence in the United States, where an average of two mass shootings – defined as an incident killing or injuring four or more people – occur every day, according to GunViolenceArchive.org.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who has been pushing for policies to address gun violence after the University of Virginia killings, ordered flags at local, state and federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.
“Heinous acts of violence have no place in our community,” Youngkin wrote on Twitter.
This is not the first mass shooting at a 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. This is also the deadliest attack on the Hispanic community in modern times. Patrick Wood Crusius, then 21, from Allen, Texas, was arrested in the shooting and he 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 Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon wrote in a LinkedIn post Wednesday. “We are here for them now and in the challenging days they will support us.”
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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