Virginia Walmart shooting: Workers recall moment when gunman opened fire

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Workers at a Virginia Walmart recalled the terrifying moment when a night shift leader opened fire in a breakroom on Tuesday night, killing six people, adding that the gunman’s actions were unexpected.

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Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake, fatally shot himself at the store in Chesapeake after opening fire at the store shortly after 10 p.m. EST. Bing, who was a “team lead” for the store’s overnight shift, had a tense and complicated relationship with his co-workers, several employees said. But none of them were prepared for what happened Tuesday.

Briana Tyler said the overnight stocking team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the breakroom to go over the morning plan, The Virginian-Pilot reported. She said as the meeting was about to start, a team leader said, “All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us.”

That was when Bing turned around and opened fire on the staff, Tyler said.

“It is by the grace of God that a bullet missed me,” Tyler told the newspaper.

“I saw the smoke leaving the gun,” Tyler later told The Associated Press. “And I literally watched bodies drop. It was crazy.”

“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at our Chesapeake, Va., store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard,” Doug McMillon, the president and chief executive of Walmart, said in a statement. “My heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community who have lost or injured loved ones.”

Donya Prioleau said she was working in the store when the shooting occurred. She also witnessed the shooting in the break room, The New York Times reported.

“I just watched three of my friends killed in front of me,” Prioleau told the newspaper. “I was directly in front of it. None of us deserved to witness that.”

Jessie Wilczewski, another employee who was in the break room when Bing opened fire, told CNN that the gunman put his gun up to her head but then let her go.

She told CNN she was in the breakroom for a meeting before her shift. The meeting had just started when she saw the gunman in the doorway, she said.

“At first it didn’t look real, it didn’t register as real. The only thing that made it real was the vibrations hitting your chest and the ringing from the gun going off,” Wilczewski told the cable news outlet, adding that she hid under a table in the room.

Wilczewski said that Bing later told her to come out from under the table.

“He had the gun up to my forehead,” she told CNN. “He told me to go home. He took the gun away from my forehead and he was aiming it at the ceiling and he said ‘Jessie, go home.’”

Wilczewski said she ran out of the store and went to her car.

“Never, ever in my life would I ever wish this upon anybody,” Wilczewski told CNN. “It’s horrible because it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop replaying when you leave the scene.”

Kimberly Shupe’s son, 24-year-old Jalon Jones, was shot in the back trying to escape the breakroom, according to The Virginian-Pilot. She said her son was alert Wednesday and mentioned that he had noticed that Bing’s behavior seemed different leading up to the incident.

Jones “thought he was going to die,” Shupe said.

Janis Strausburg, 48, of Chesapeake, worked maintenance at the Chesapeake Walmart until June, The Virginian-Pilot reported. She said she talked frequently with Bing and said he had a negative attitude.

“He was always grumpy, always talking about calling and getting the managers in trouble, that he got the human resources phone number and that he will tell on them in a heartbeat and get the store in trouble,” Strausburg told the newspaper. “He was always negative.”

Shaundrayia Reese, 27, said she worked at the store with Bing from late 2014 until 2018, NBC News reported.

Reese said Bing “didn’t do social media.” In a video she once recorded of her co-workers, Bing “kind of jumped out of the way” to avoid being on camera, according to the news organization.

“He put tape on his phone, on the camera. Always used to tell us the government was watching,” Reese told NBC News. “He was just weird.”

A former co-worker, who requested anonymity, said he knew Bing well and was shocked to learn about the shooting.

“I never saw this coming, not from a million miles away. He was always a little eccentric, a little hyper, but pretty much easygoing, carefree,” the man told WAVY-TV. “Sometimes he could be a little hard to get along with, some associates didn’t like him. But I don’t think they bullied him.

“It’s just crazy. It could’ve been me if this was six months ago. I would’ve been there.”

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