CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — The Walmart supervisor who fatally shot six employees at a Virginia store bought the gun just hours before the killings and left a note on his phone accusing colleagues of taunting him , the authorities announced on Friday.
“Apologies everyone but I didn’t plan this, I promise things just worked out like I was being guided by Satan,” Andre Bing wrote in a note left on his phone, the Chesapeake Police Department said on Friday with
Police said the 9mm handgun used in Tuesday night’s shooting was legally purchased this morning and that Bing had no criminal record. They released a copy of the note found on his phone, which appears to have redacted the names of certain people he mentioned.
It wasn’t clear when the note was written, but in it, Bing claimed he had been harassed and said he was marginalized by the perception his phone was being hacked.
He wrote, “My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and have my parents take better care of my social deficiencies.” Bing died at the scene from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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Bing colleagues who survived the shooting said he was difficult and known to be hostile towards employees. A survivor said Bing appeared to have attacked people and shot some victims after they were already hit.
Jessica Wilczewski said workers were gathered in a break room at a store to begin their night shift late Tuesday when Bing, a team leader, entered and opened fire. While another witness described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said she saw him attack certain individuals.
“The way he acted — he went 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 chose people.”
Wilczewski said she only worked at the store for five days and being a new employee may have been the reason she was spared.
At least six people have been killed in a shooting at a Walmart in Virginia, authorities said. (Source: CNN, WTKR, WTVR, TWITTER)
She said she hid under a table after the shooting started and at one point Bing told her to come out from under the table. But when he saw who she was, he said to her, “Jessie, go home.”
Former employees and residents of Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 near the Virginia coast, struggle to understand the killing spree.
Bing’s death a notice wanders 11 paragraphs at times, with references to non-traditional cancer treatments and songwriting. He says people have unfairly compared him to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, writing, “I would never have killed anyone entering my house.”
And he wanted a wife but wrote he didn’t deserve one.
Some who have worked with Bing, 31, said he has a reputation for being an aggressive if not hostile boss who once admitted to having “anger issues”. But he could also make people laugh and seemed to be able to cope with the typical work pressures that many people face.
“I don’t think he had a lot of people to draw on in his personal life,” said Nathan Sinclair, who worked at Walmart for almost a year before leaving earlier this month.
In conversations between colleagues, we said: ‘The 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 for being “verbally hostile” towards employees and was not particularly popular. But Sinclair also said there were times when Bing was made fun of.
Police have identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kelly Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Randy Blevins, 70, and Fernando Chavez-Barron, 16, all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth. Chavez-Barron’s name was released on Friday; it had previously been held back because of its age.
Two others who were shot remained hospitalized, police said on Friday. One is still in critical condition and the other is in good to improving condition.
Six people were injured in the shooting, which took place just after 10 p.m. as shoppers stocked up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe around 50 people were inside the store at the time.
Bing was identified as the night team leader who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.
Walmart employee Briana Tyler said the overnight camp team of 15 to 20 people just gathered in the break room to go through the morning schedule. Another team leader had started speaking when Bing entered the room and opened fire, Tyler and Wiczewski said.
The attack was the second major shooting in Virginia that month. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a bus on November 13 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 and wounding 17. Tuesday night’s shooting brought back memories of another attack on a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman killed 23 at a store in El Paso, Texas.
Also on Friday, a person suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening after being shot at a Walmart in Lumberton, North Carolina, police said. Investigators described it as an isolated altercation between two people who knew each other.
Barakat reported from Falls Church, Virginia. Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake and Michael Kunzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland, and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.
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