Virginia Walmart shooting: Victims remain hospitalized for days in critical condition after mass shooting during Thanksgiving week left six dead

The Tuesday night shooting — two days before Thanksgiving — began minutes after 10 p.m. in the employee break room, where some workers were getting ready to begin their night shift.

In addition to the six workers who did not survive, others continue to receive medical treatment. Two victims at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital were in critical condition on Thanksgiving Day, hospital spokesman Mike Kafka told CNN, and another victim was released on Wednesday.

“Today we are only focused on those injured by Tuesday’s tragic event, but the police investigation continues,” officials said, adding that additional information will be provided on Friday.

The dead are Randy Blevins, 70, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, Tyneka Johnson, 22, Brian Pendleton, 38, Kellie Pyle, 52, and a 16-year-old boy, who is not named because he is a minor, according to authorities.

As police work to determine a motive for one of at least three mass shootings in Virginia this month, Chesapeake officials have announced a vigil for victims scheduled for Monday night in City Park.

“Chesapeake is a close-knit community and we are all shocked,” Mayor Rick West said in an online post earlier this week. “Together we will support each other during this time.”

Another mass shooting highlights the persistent divide between America and gun control
The tragedy, which occurred as many in the community prepared to spend the holidays with family and friends, has unleashed an outburst of grief and trauma over the loss of loved ones in yet another mass shooting across the US.
Another Virginia community has also endured the pain of lives lost to gun violence. About 170 miles west of Chesapeake, a 22-year-old student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville has been arrested and charged after opening fire on fellow students on Nov. 13, killing three of them on a bus returning from a field trip to the campus to Washington DC.
Grief also swept through a Colorado community last weekend when a 22-year-old suspect shot and killed five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub, injuring 19 others, authorities said.
These shootings, among many others, have put the U.S. on an ominous track to make 2022 the second-highest year for mass shootings on record, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that began tracking the cases in 2014. follow.

Survivors describe shooting

The shooting in Chesapeake this week broke out suddenly, with witnesses saying they were in shock and disbelief when they saw the gunman point a firearm at them.

Walmart employee Kevin Harper said the gunman entered the break room and immediately began firing.

“He came in there and just started spraying,” Harper said in a video posted to social media.

The shooter has been identified as Andre Bing, who worked overnight as “squad leader.” The 31-year-old had worked for Walmart since 2010, the company said. Authorities have said he had a semi-automatic pistol and several ammunition magazines.
6 victims shot dead at a Walmart in Virginia, including a 16-year-old boy, authorities say

Two victims killed and the gunman were found in the break room, another victim was found near the front of the store and three others died in hospital, Chesapeake city officials said.

Jessie Wilczewski, who was recently hired, told CNN she was in a regularly scheduled meeting when the shooting began.

At first, “it didn’t register as real,” she said, until the sound of the shots echoed through her chest.

Wilczewski hid under a table as the gunman walked down a nearby hallway. She saw some of her colleagues lying on the floor or lying on chairs — all silent and some probably dead, she said. She stayed because she didn’t want to leave them alone.

“I could have run out that door… and I stayed. I stayed so they wouldn’t be alone in their last moments,” Wilczewski said in a message to the families of two victims.

When the gunman returned to the break room, Wilczewski said, he told her to get out from under the table and go home.

“I had to touch the door which was covered in blood,” she said. “I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back – well, he’s going to have to try real hard, because I’m running’, and I booked it. … and I did didn’t stop until I got to my car and then I had a meltdown.”

The FBI is investigating Tuesday's fatal mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, on Thursday.

Briana Tyler, also a newly hired employee, said she saw bullets flying just inches from her face.

“Suddenly you just hear pa pa pa pa pa pa pa,” Tyler said. “There were people just falling to the ground,” she said. “Everyone was screaming, gasping, and yes, he just walked off after that and just went through the store and just kept firing.

Holiday marked with emptiness for families of gun violence victims

Aside from this week’s Chesapeake shooting, gun violence has turned many ordinary places into crime scenes across the country — from schools and grocery stores to hospitals and malls.
Brett Cross, whose cousin Uziyah Garcia was killed this year in a Texas school massacre, described a deep sense of loss without the 10-year-old boy this holiday season.

A gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May, killing 19 fourth-grade students and their two teachers before authorities shot him dead.

“Six months since our world came crashing down, and I have to ‘celebrate the holidays,'” Cross wrote in a social media post on Thanksgiving Day. “How do you celebrate when you’re devastated. How do you give thanks when you have nothing left to give. How do you pretend and laugh when you wake up crying.”

The country's hopes for a Thanksgiving postponement are shattered by another tragic wave of gun violence
In 2018, a former student murdered 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg who was killed in that shooting, said there is more work to be done in the fight against gun violence.
“Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, many families will do so with an empty seat at the table because of gun violence,” Guttenberg wrote in a post on social media on Thanksgiving.
Nicole Hockley lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in 2012.

“My life was flooded with sadness and turmoil. I felt like I was at the bottom of a giant hole that I could never climb out of. I didn’t know how to help myself, let alone those I loved Hockley wrote. online in a Thanksgiving message.

“But in the weeks and months that followed, and with the support of those around me, I found a newfound sense of purpose. To prevent other children and families from suffering the same fate.”

CNN’s Josh Campbell, Michelle Watson and Andi Babineau contributed to this report.

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