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The Washington Post

Walmart taking pictures suspect described as aggressive, offended, however motive unclear


CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Police right here mentioned they spent Thanksgiving Day analyzing why a Walmart supervisor shot and killed six co-workers — focusing at the very least partially on an alleged “manifesto” he wrote — as households, pals and colleagues of the victims grieved on what ought to have been a joyous vacation.

A considerably clearer image started to emerge of the gunman — recognized by authorities as 31-year-old Andre M. Bing — although neither police nor those that knew him may present particular solutions as to what motivated the Tuesday night time rampage. Chesapeake Police Division spokesperson Leo Kosinski mentioned investigators have been “actively investigating the allegation that the suspect wrote a manifesto,” first reported by WAVY-TV 10 in Portsmouth, although he offered no particulars.

One former colleague mentioned Bing, an in a single day supervisor who joined the corporate in 2010, confided in her he had “anger points.” One other mentioned he was “overly aggressive” and appeared to have little social life outdoors of labor. A mom of one of many victims claimed Bing appeared to have it out for her son — even trying to fireplace him this 12 months. However others described Bing as pleasant and mentioned they by no means imagined he would perform such an assault, which police say ended when Bing took his personal life.

“We’re actively wanting right into a motive proper now and we need to ensure we get it proper earlier than we launch it,” Kosinski mentioned.

Family members of the lifeless have been going through empty seats at their vacation meals, and the nation was left to course of yet one more episode of high-profile gun violence. The taking pictures got here days after a person was accused of fatally taking pictures 5 folks at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub and fewer than two weeks after a 22-year-old College of Virginia pupil was accused of killing three student-athletes getting back from a college journey. In response to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been at the very least 4 mass shootings each week in 2022. The group defines a mass taking pictures as an episode the place 4 or extra folks, not together with the assailant, are injured or killed.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) referenced the 2 latest assaults in his state in a Thanksgiving tweet writing, “On at the present time that we provide thanks for our many blessings, [wife] Suzanne and I ask all Virginians to take a second to raise up in prayer the households of the victims in Chesapeake and Charlottesville, together with the numerous heroes who serve and defend.”

Brian Pendleton, 39, one of many six employees killed, was purported to work at Walmart on Thursday after Thanksgiving dinner, mentioned Michelle Johnson, his mom. “I’m within the kitchen now, attempting to do Thanksgiving for everyone as greatest I can,” Johnson mentioned Thursday morning. “However it’s such a unique day.”

Johnson mentioned her son, who had a mind situation known as congenital hydrocephalus, had labored at Walmart for greater than 10 years. This 12 months, she mentioned her son informed her that Bing tried to have him fired — leaving Pendleton confused, due to his longtime service to the corporate. Johnson informed her son to contact Bing’s supervisor and ask for his job again.

“When he did that, they reinstated Brian,” she mentioned. “I simply don’t perceive how this all slipped by way of the cracks. It was so evident that this man had one thing — I really feel like he had one thing towards my son.”

The Washington Publish couldn’t instantly corroborate that account, and it was not clear whether or not Bing had the authority to fireplace somebody. Walmart didn’t reply to a request for touch upon whether or not Bing had tried to have Pendleton fired.

Johnson mentioned that her son “beloved his job,” however she now questioned whether or not extra may have been accomplished to guard him. “He did have some points with [Bing] at one level, however we thought all the things was resolved,” she mentioned.

Bing, who had no obvious felony document, entered the shop Tuesday night time armed with a handgun and several other magazines and opened hearth, authorities mentioned. He focused co-workers in a break room, based on police and witness accounts.

Mates and family remembered the victims as caring, hard-working folks. Along with Pendleton, there was Tyneka Johnson, 22, a fashionista who dreamed of attending faculty. There was Randall Blevins, 70, who skipped retirement to maintain working and loved wrestling and hockey. There was Kellie Pyle, 52, who had simply moved again to her hometown and reconnected along with her highschool sweetheart. There was Lorenzo Gamble, 43, whose mom had put him in control of each the banana pudding cake and banana pudding for his household’s Thanksgiving dinner.

One other sufferer, a 16-year-old worker, has not been recognized as a result of he’s a minor.

Others have been wounded, and two folks remained hospitalized in important situation at Sentara Norfolk Normal Hospital, spokesperson Mike Kafka mentioned Thursday.

Nathan Sinclair, a former Walmart worker who labored the second shift, mentioned Bing had a less-than-stellar fame amongst colleagues. “He was recognized within the retailer for being hostile at instances,” Sinclair, 21, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He talked to you want he ran the shop. … There’s all the time folks in jobs that aren’t favored — Andre was one in every of them.”

Sinclair, who labored on the Walmart from January till the primary week of November and lives in Chesapeake, mentioned he typically needed to work together with Bing close to the top of his shift, however he tried to keep away from chatting with the person as a lot as he may.

“He had too many moments the place he’d be overly aggressive,” Sinclair mentioned.

Sinclair mentioned he was informed Bing had been written up at the very least twice by Walmart supervisors, although he didn’t know the small print and The Publish couldn’t instantly confirm the knowledge. Walmart didn’t instantly reply to a query about Bing having been disciplined beforehand.

At work, Bing was both centered on getting his job accomplished or taking part in video games on his cellphone, Sinclair mentioned. Though he was not keen on Bing, Sinclair described him as a “arduous employee.” Different associates typically made enjoyable of Bing’s garments or hair, Sinclair mentioned.

“Andre was sort of picked on a bit bit by some associates on the retailer,” Sinclair mentioned. “There have been undoubtedly different staff that made enjoyable of him.”

Sinclair mentioned Bing shared that he lived by himself and would usually play video video games when he was not working. “He didn’t have a social life,” Sinclair mentioned. “It was work, house. Dwelling, work. It didn’t appear to be he had a lot of a assist system, if any.”

Janice Strausburg mentioned she labored at completely different Walmarts for about 13 years earlier than quitting this 12 months to develop into a Lyft driver. She mentioned she labored with Bing for about 5 years on the retailer the place the taking pictures occurred.

Strausburg mentioned she and Bing talked usually, however they drifted aside after he gossiped about her to co-workers. She mentioned she couldn’t recall the character of his feedback.

Bing was “grumpy however typically nice,” Strausburg mentioned, and he as soon as confided to her that he had anger points.

“I believe it was due to demons,” she mentioned of the Tuesday night time assault. “Psychological points.”

Michelle Henry, who labored on the Walmart between 2016 and 2018, mentioned she knew Bing when he was nonetheless an affiliate. She described him as a tough employee whom folks bought together with. “Andre was only a regular on a regular basis man. I’ve laughed with him many instances,” she mentioned. “I can’t imagine he did this.”

She mentioned she by no means heard Bing discuss household, however he did discuss pals outdoors of labor.

“The one clarification I can consider is unhealthy psychological well being,” Henry mentioned. “These have been good folks he killed. They didn’t do something unhealthy to anybody.”

Efforts by The Publish to find family of Bing have been unsuccessful.

The aftermath of the shootings solid a pall over Chesapeake, a metropolis of about 250,000 folks within the southeastern nook of Virginia.

Zachary Adkins, 32, and his girlfriend sat in his automobile toes away from the police tape lining the Walmart car parking zone. They’d been driving round and determined to cease and pay their respects.

“We simply thought it was the best factor to do, ” he mentioned. “It’s unhappy so near the vacation. We’re having a giant household dinner. These folks don’t get to go to that.”

Matt Cilento, who labored as a police officer in Chesapeake from 2000 to 2007 and now operates a towing enterprise, mentioned that after the taking pictures, a couple of of his staff wished to do one thing to honor the victims. They determined to construct crosses, which they delivered on Thursday to the Walmart car parking zone, subsequent to the numerous flowers positioned there by mourners.

“Hopefully folks know that everyone within the metropolis of Chesapeake is right here to assist them,” Cilento mentioned. “It’s not simply their households and pals. It’s everyone locally.”

Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.

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