As authorities investigate this week’s mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, at least two employees remain hospitalized after a manager killed six co-workers before taking his own life.
As authorities are investigating this week mass shooting at Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, at least two employees remained hospitalized after a manager killed six co-workers before taking his own life.
The shooting on Tuesday night – two days before Thanksgiving – began a few minutes after 10pm in an employee break room where some workers were preparing to start their night shift.
In addition to the six employees who did not survive, others continue to receive care.
One victim was hospitalized in critical condition on Thanksgiving Day, while the other was in “fair/improving condition,” Chesapeake city officials said in a tweet Thursday. Another victim was released Wednesday, a spokesman for Centara Norfolk General Hospital told CNN.
“This Thanksgiving, we are very grateful for our community and are thinking of each and every victim of the Walmart shooting and their families,” Chesapeake City officials said. said online.
“Today we are focused only on those affected by Tuesday’s tragic event, but the police investigation is ongoing,” officials said, adding that more information would be released on Friday.
Killed: Randy Blevins, 70, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, Tyneka Johnson, 22, Brian Pendleton, 38, Kelly Pyle, 52, and a 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, according to authorities. .
As police work to determine a motive for one of at least three mass shootings in Virginia this month, Chesapeake officials announced a vigil for the victims planned for Monday evening at a city park.
“Chesapeake is a close-knit community and we are all shocked,” Mayor Rick West said in a message posted online earlier this week. “Together we will support each other throughout this time.”
The tragedy, which occurred as many in the community were preparing to spend the holiday with family and friends, sparked an outpouring of grief and trauma over the loss of loved ones in another mass shooting in the USA.
Another community in Virginia is also dealing with the pain of lives lost to gun violence. About 170 miles west of Chesapeake, a 22-year-old student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was arrested and charged after the shooting began on fellow students on Nov. 13, killing three of them on a bus returning to campus from a field trip to Washington, D.C.
Grief also gripped the Colorado community over the weekend when a 22-year-old suspect shot five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, injuring 19 people, authorities said.
These shootings, among many others, put the US on an ominous path to 2022 second largest year for mass shootings on the record, according to c Archive of gun violencea nonprofit organization that began tracking cases in 2014.
Survivors describe the shooting
A shooting in Chesapeake this week came suddenly, with witnesses saying they were in shock and disbelief when they saw a gunman pointing a firearm at them.
Walmart employee Kevin Harper said the shooter entered the break room and immediately began shooting.
“He got in there and just started spraying,” Harper said in a video on social media.
The the identity of the gunman has been established like Andre Bing, who worked as a “team leader” at night. The 31-year-old had worked at Walmart since 2010, the company said. Authorities said he had one semi-automatic handgun and several magazines of ammunition.
Two slain victims and the shooter were found in a break room, another victim was found in the front of the store and three others died at the hospital, Chesapeake city officials said.
Jessie Wilczewski, who was recently hired, told CNN that she was in a regularly scheduled meeting when filming began.
At first, it “didn’t register as real,” she said, until the sound of gunshots echoed in her chest.
Vilchevskii hid under the table when the armed man walked down the adjacent corridor. She could see some of her colleagues on the floor or lying on chairs – all motionless and some probably dead, she said. She stayed because she didn’t want to leave them alone.
“I could have run out of that door … and I stayed. I stayed so that they would not be alone in the last moments,” Vilchevskii said in an address to the families of the two victims.
According to Wilczewski, when the shooter returned to the break room, he told her to get out from under the table and go home.
“I had to touch the door that was covered (in blood),” she said. “I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back — well, he’s going to have to try really hard because I’m running,’ and I ordered it. … and I didn’t stop until I got to my car, and then I crashed.”
Brianna Tyler, also a recent hire, said she saw bullets fly inches from her face.
“All of a sudden you just hear ‘pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa,'” Tyler said. “People were just falling to the floor,” she said. “Everybody was screaming, gasping, and yeah, he just left after that and just kept going all over the store and just kept shooting.
For families of gun violence victims, the holiday was marked by emptiness
In addition to this week’s shooting in Chesapeake, gun violence has turned many ordinary places into crime scenes across the country, from schools and supermarkets to hospitals and shopping centers.
Brett Cross, whose nephew Uzziah Garcia was killed in a school massacre in Texas this year, described a deep sense of loss without a 10-year-old boy this holiday season.
In May, a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, killing 19 fourth-graders and two of their teachers before authorities shot him dead.
“It’s been 6 months since our world was destroyed and I got to ‘celebrate the holidays,'” Cross wrote in a social media post on Thanksgiving Day. “How do you celebrate when you are devastated. How to give thanks when there is nothing to give. How you pretend and smile when you wake up in tears.’
In 2018, a former student killed 14 students and three staff members Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Fred Gutenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Gutenberg, who was killed in that shooting, said there is still a lot of work to be done in the fight against gun violence.
“Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, many families will do so with an empty seat at the table because of gun violence,” Gutenberg wrote in post on social media on Thanksgiving Day.
Nicole Hockley lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in a mass shooting in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in 2012.
“My life was filled with sadness and turmoil. I felt like I was at the bottom of a giant pit that I would never be able to climb out of. I didn’t know how to help myself, let alone those I loved,” Hockley wrote in a Thanksgiving message.
“But in the weeks and months that followed, with the support of those around me, I found a renewed sense of purpose. So that other children and families do not suffer the same fate.”
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