SSome said he was a loner. Others said he could be surly and unresponsive.
Police said they found a sort of “manifesto” on Andre Bing’s mobile phone in which he complained about unspecified changes in his employment status and what he called being harassed by other employees in connection with it. One report says that near his body, police found a list of employees he planned to attack.
As America celebrated Thanksgiving, police in Chesapeake, Virginia were looking for clues about the Walmart mass shooting, an incident whose horror reverberated across the country, another harrowing mass shooting took place in the most mundane of places.
In Nantucket, Massachusetts, vacationing Joe Biden was asked about the incident and promised to take action to control the sale of semi-automatic firearms.
“The idea that we’re not enforcing red flag laws … is absurd,” he said. “The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic firearms is sick. Only sick. There is no social redemptive value. Zero. Thread. Not a single justification, except for profit for the arms manufacturers.”
The Walmart incident – actually carried out with a gun – was the second Virginia had experienced in just over a week. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a bus as they returned to campus from a trip on November 13.
Meanwhile, the shooting happened days after a person opened fire at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub, killing five people and injuring 17.
Following Tuesday’s killing in the staff area, tributes were paid to the victims – the six people who died and several others who were injured, some seriously. Bing also took his own life.
According to police, there were about 50 people in the store at the time.
Randy Blevins, 70, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, Tyneka Johnson, 22, Brian Pendleton, 38, Kellie Pyle, 52, and a 16-year-old boy who was not named because he was a minor were killed.
As authorities in Chesapeake and Virginia paid their respects to the shooter’s victims, police were still trying to gather all the details of what happened – and what prompted Bing, 31, to open fire on his colleagues and anyone near the staff room.
Briana Tyler, 28, was one staff member in the staff room who described standing in horror after spotting Bing in the doorway with a gun.
“Everybody was just waiting to find out where they were going to go for the night, and then all of a sudden you just hear ‘bye bye bye bye bye bye bye’,” Tyler told CNN.
She said he wasn’t talking or pointing at anyone in particular. “He just had a blank look on his face and he just literally looked around the room and he just fired and people just fell to the floor.”
She added: “The two visions I can’t get out of my head are the vision where he shoots a gun and smoke comes out. I watch the smoke leave the barrel of the gun as my friend bleeds out of her neck.”
Walmart attack leaves several dead and others injured
Jessie Wilczewski, a Walmart employee on only his fifth day on the job, was in the break room with about 14 other employees and their manager, learning about their duties the day the gunman started shooting “from left to right,” local news station WAVY-TV told local news station WAVY-TV.
She said she hid under the table. She then said the gunman looked her in the eye and said, “Jessie, go home.”
“It didn’t even look real until you could feel it firing the gun – pow pow pow – you can feel it,” Wilczewski said. “I couldn’t hear it at first because I think it was so loud I could feel it.”
Various staff members said that Bing was someone who could act strangely.
One former employee who worked under him but left the store six months ago said: “I’ve never seen it coming, even from a million miles away. He’s always been a little eccentric, a little hyper, but rather laid back, carefree. He was hard to get along with at times, some co-workers disliked him. But I don’t think they intimidate him.
The man told WAVY-TV that he doesn’t think Bing suffers from any particular anger issues. However, there may have been some problems.
“I mean, from what I saw, he was a good guy, but I heard he had problems and they tried to talk to him about his problems,” he said.
Bing lived in the Eva Gardens area of Chesapeake, Virginia’s second largest city, and was often seen driving a small green Ford Focus.
“I only saw him in passing, he drives a little green Ford Focus,” said Vera McDuffy, who has lived next door to Bing for two years. She said she heard police shouting, “Search warrant! Search warrant!” when they broke down his door after Tuesday’s incident.
Reports say police found no additional weapons or ammunition stockpiles. Police said Bing, who had been employed by WalMart since 2010 and always worked as a night manager, had one handgun and several magazines of ammunition. He was not wearing military clothing or a tactical vest, police said.
Many employees described Bing as a person who can act a bit eccentric, although there was no indication of what happened on Tuesday.
Shaundrayia Reese, 27, told NBC News that she worked at the store from 2014 to 2018, working on the night replenishment team with Bing.
She said he wasn’t “dealing with social media” and in a video she once made of her co-workers, Bing “sort of jumped out of the way” to avoid being filmed.
“He taped his phone to the camera. I’ve always told us the government is watching us,” said Reese, who lives in Chesapeake. “He was just weird.”
Police said they responded to 911 calls around 10:12 p.m. Tuesday night after reports emerged of an active shooter at the store.
The first officer arrived on the scene within two minutes, around 10:14 p.m., and officers entered the store at around 10:16 p.m.
“Once inside, officers began locating and evacuating people inside the store. During the search, officers located several injured and deceased persons,” the department said in a statement.
“At least six injured people have been transported to local hospitals for further treatment. There were seven fatalities in total. Three people, including the shooter, were found dead in the store’s break room. One victim was found dead near the front of the store. Three other victims were transported to local hospitals for further treatment but died of their injuries.”
Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said they were still looking for leads, but there was no clear motive for the incident that sent four people to the hospital.
One employee who survived the rampage, Donya Prioleau, told CNN that Bing “said a lot of disturbing things,” but no one expected the deadly event to unfold when they showed up at work on Tuesday.
“We don’t know what made him do it,” she said. “None of us can understand why this happened.”