A Walmart employee entered a break room with a gun and killed six people at a store in Chesapeake, Virginia on Tuesday night, according to authorities.
In addition to the six people confirmed shot dead, Chesapeake police said that six people were sent to local hospitals to receive medical care and that one is currently in “critical condition”.
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The attacker died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said at a news conference on Wednesday. Soon after, in a Twitter post, the City of Chesapeake identified the shooter as 31-year-old Andre Bing.
The city said that it is investigating the employment status of the victims and that police were working with family members before releasing the identities of the dead.
We are still communicating with the victims’ families and will release their information as soon as possible. We can confirm that the shooter was 31-year-old Andre Bing of Chesapeake. He was armed with one handgun and had multiple magazines on his person.
— City of Chesapeake (@AboutChesapeake) November 23, 2022
The shooter used a pistol and was an employee of the Walmart where the shooting took place, Solesky said. He and two victims were found in the break room. One was found near the front of the store, and three more were sent to the hospital but died from their injuries.
The attack is the second high-profile mass shooting to shake the United States this week. Late on Saturday, a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five and wounding 18.
At about 10:12pm local time on Tuesday (03:12 GMT on Wednesday), Chesapeake police had responded to reports of a shooting at the Walmart.
A witness to the shooting, Briana Tyler, said that workers had gathered in the store’s break room as they typically did in advance of their shifts.
“I looked up, and my manager just opened the door and he just opened fire,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America, adding that “multiple people” dropped to the floor.
“He didn’t say a word, he didn’t say anything at all,” she said.
“Because of yet another horrific and senseless act of violence, there are now even more tables across the country that will have empty seats this Thanksgiving,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday. Thursday marks the US national holiday.
“We must come together as a nation … We must take greater action,” said the president, an advocate of gun control in the US.
“I am devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place late last night in our city,” Mayor Rick West said in a statement posted on the city’s Twitter account on Wednesday. “Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken by this news.”
The largest retailer in the country, Walmart wrote early on Wednesday that it was “shocked at this tragic event”.
“We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates”.
We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.
— Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) November 23, 2022
The attack at the Walmart came three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. Earlier in the year, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas and killed 22 people.
A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every mass killing in the US going back to 2006 shows 2022 has been especially bad. The country has now had 40 mass killings so far this year, second to the 45 that occurred for all of 2019. The database defines a mass killing as one claiming the lives of at least four people, not including the killer.
Virginia state Senator L Louise Lucas said she was “absolutely heartbroken” about shooting in her district, adding that she “will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country”.