Witness: Walmart shooter seemed to target certain people

Ben Finley, The Associated Press

Published Thursday, November 24, 2022 1:46 PM EST

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — The Walmart supervisor who shot and killed six colleagues in Virginia appeared to target people and shoot at some victims after they had already been hit and appeared dead, said a witness who was present when the shooting began .

Jessica Wilczewski said workers had gathered in a store break room late Tuesday to begin their night shift when team leader Andre Bing entered and opened fire with a handgun. While another witness has described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said she saw him shoot at certain people.

“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 picked people out.”

She said she saw him shooting at people already on the ground.

“What I do know is that he made sure whoever he wanted dead was dead,” she said. “He went back and shot dead bodies that were already dead. To be sure.”

Wilczewski said she had only worked at the store for five days and didn’t know who Bing got along with or had problems with. She said the fact that she was a new employee may have been why he spared her.

She said that after the shooting started, a colleague sitting next to her pulled her under the table to hide. She said at one point Bing told her to get out from under the table. But when he saw who she was, he told her, “Jessie, go home.” She said she got up slowly and then ran out of the store.

Police are trying to determine a motive. It was the second high-profile mass shooting in the country in four days. The gunman was dead when officers arrived late Tuesday night at the store in Chesapeake, Virginia’s second-largest city. According to authorities, he apparently shot himself.

Police identified the victims as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kelly Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gambling, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth. They said the dead included a 16-year-old boy whose name was not released due to his age.

A Walmart spokesperson confirmed in an email that all of the victims worked for the company.

Krystal Kawabata, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, field office, confirmed that the agency is assisting police with the investigation, but she forwarded all investigations to the Chesapeake Police Department, the lead investigative agency.

Another Walmart employee, Briana Tyler, has said that Bing appeared to fire randomly.

“He just shot all over the room. It didn’t matter who he hit,” Briana Tyler, a Walmart employee, told the AP on Wednesday.

Six people were also injured in the shooting, which occurred just after 10 p.m. as shoppers approached Thanksgiving. According to police, there were about 50 people in the store at the time.

The shooter was identified as Bing, a 31-year-old overnight team leader who had worked at Walmart since 2010. Police said he had a handgun and several magazines of ammunition.

Tyler said the overnight storage team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go through the morning plan. Another team leader started talking when Bing entered the room and opened fire, Tyler and Wiczewski both said.

Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had only worked with Bing the night before, said she never had a negative encounter with him, but others told her he was “the manager to watch out for.” She said Bing had a history of writing people up for no reason.

The attack marked the second time in just over a week that Virginia has experienced a major shooting. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on November 13 on a charter bus as they were returning to campus from a field trip. Two other students were injured.

The attack on the Walmart came days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 17. store fire in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people.

A database maintained by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every mass murder in America as of 2006 shows that the U.S. has had 40 mass murders so far in 2022. That compares to 45 for all of 2019, the highest year in the database, which defines a mass murder as at least four dead, not counting the killer.

Earlier this year, the nation was rocked by the deaths of 21 people when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Contributors to this report were Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Chesapeake and news researchers Rhonda Shafner and Randy Herschaft in New York.

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