CHESAPEAKE, Virginia – A 16-year-old helping his family. Caretaker and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy guy. A longtime employee.
This is how friends and family described some of the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, when a manager opened fire with a handgun before a staff meeting Tuesday night.
Here are some details about the lost:
Randy Blevins, 70, of Chesapeake
Blevins began working for Walmart in the early 1990s after the five-and-cent dollars he owned with his wife Teresa went under, his stepdaughter Cassandra Yeatts told The Associated Press.
“When Walmart came into town, they sort of put their business out of business,” Yeatts said. “My mom contacted the manager at the Walmart on Sam’s Drive and said, ‘Hey, you’ve put us out of business and my husband needs a job.'”
Blevins had an interview and was hired on the spot as an overnight camper, a job that involved unloading trucks, Yeatts said.
He liked the third shift because he had the days to himself. He attended Norfolk Admirals hockey games and watched professional wrestling and Washington Commanders football games on television.
Blevins also took snaps of people and places in nearby Isle of Wight County, according to a 1996 story in the Isle of Wight Citizen. The images were pasted onto postcards and sold at another five-and-a-cent price managed by his brother.
Blevins never missed a day’s work, his stepdaughter said.
“He never had any complaints about anyone he worked with, and he enjoyed going to work,” Yeatts said.
Blevins leaves behind three stepdaughters. And even though he and his wife Teresa Blevins divorced, they remained best friends, Yeatts said.
“Thanksgiving and Christmas were his favorite holidays,” she said.
Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron, 16, of Chesapeake
Chavez-Barron was an honors 11th grader who had just started driving and took a part-time job to help his family, according to friends and a GoFundMe page set up for the family. The site’s organizer, Tamara Nelson, confirmed over the phone that the site was authentic, but declined to comment further.
“As an outstanding son and an outstanding big brother, he loved building with Legos,” reads the GoFundMe page. “He will always be remembered as a humble, loving, responsible and hardworking young man. His loss is felt not only by his family but by so many others in his community.”
Rosy Perez, a family friend, told the New York Times that the teen worked the night shift at Walmart to help out his family.
“He wanted to help a little bit,” Perez said. “He was a very good kid.”
Kellie Pyle, 52, from Chesapeake
Pyle was remembered as a generous and kind person, a mother who had wedding plans in the near future.
“We love her,” said Gwendolyn Bowe Baker Spencer. “She wanted to marry my son next year. She was a great, kind person – yes, she was.”
Pyle had adult children in Kentucky who will travel to Virginia after the tragedy, Spencer said.
Pyle moved back to her native Norfolk in May after reconnecting with her high school sweetheart and recently landed a job at Walmart, her cousin Billy Pillar-Gibson told The Washington Post. He recalled Pyle’s sarcastic sense of humor and called her his best friend.
“We grew up in a crazy family and we hit it off,” he said. “I can’t remember life without her.”
Brian Pendleton, 38, from Chesapeake
Pendleton made sure to be on time. Although his shift as a janitor began at 10:30 p.m., he was in the break room when the shooting began just after 10 a.m., according to his mother, Michelle Johnson.
“He used to come to work early so he could get to work on time,” she told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “He liked his colleagues.”
Pendleton recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at the store.
His mother said he had no problems at work except with a supervisor, Andre Bing, who was identified as the shooter.
“He just didn’t like my son,” Johnson said. “He would tell me that he (Bing) would make his life miserable.”
Pendleton was born with a congenital brain disorder and grew up in Chesapeake, his mother said.
“He called me yesterday before he left for work,” Johnson said. “I always tell him to call me when he gets home from work.”
As she was getting ready for bed, Johnson received a call from a family friend telling her that there was a shooting at Walmart.
“Brian was a happy guy. Brian loved family. Brian loved friends. He loved telling jokes,” his mother said. “We will miss him”
Lorenzo Gamble, 43, of Chesapeake
Gamble was a night-shift janitor and had worked at Walmart for 15 years, the Washington Post reported.
His parents, Linda and Alonzo Gamble, said he loves spending time with his two sons.
“He just kept to himself and did his job,” said Linda Gamble. “He was the quiet one in the family.”
His mother said Gamble enjoyed going to his 19-year-old’s football games and cheering on the Washington Commanders NFL team.
She posted on Facebook that she’s having trouble saying goodbye.
“I’m missing my baby right now, life isn’t the same without my son,” she wrote.
Tyneka Johnson, 22, from Portsmouth
Theodore Johnson, 41, told the New York Times that his cousin lived with her mother.
“She was young and wanted to make her own money,” he said.
When Johnson attended Western Branch High School, Casheba Cannon taught the student with dreams of college and a supportive family, Cannon told The Washington Post.
“Education was the priority. Her family went above and beyond to make sure she got help,” Cannon said.
Johnson was willing to work to improve herself, but she was also cheerful, helping younger students and “getting along” with everyone she met at Cannon’s Blessed Tutoring Services, she said. Johnson had a sense of style and a love for music and dance.
“She was that kid. When she came to tutoring, she was in very good shape,” Cannon said. “Tyneka was a light in a dark room.”
A makeshift memorial to Johnson with the words “Our Hearts are with you” and a basket of flowers was placed on a lawn in front of Walmart.
The commemoration included a cluster of blue, white and gold balloons attached to a tree, next to a stark yellow line of police tape.
Kelleher reported from Honolulu and Schoenbaum reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.