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Walmart shooting suspect described as aggressive, angry, but motive unclear


CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Police here said they spent Thanksgiving Day investigating why a Walmart supervisor shot and killed six co-workers — focusing at least in part on an alleged “manifesto” he wrote — as that families, friends and colleagues of the victims grieved on what should have been a joyous holiday.

A somewhat clearer picture has begun to emerge of the shooter – identified by authorities as 31-year-old Andre M. Bing – although neither police nor those who knew him could provide definitive answers as to what prompted Tuesday night’s outburst. Chesapeake Police Department spokesman Leo Kosinski said investigators are “actively investigating the allegation that the suspect wrote a manifesto”, first reported by WAVY-TV 10 in Portsmouth, although that he did not provide any details.

A former colleague said Bing, an overnight supervisor who joined the company in 2010, told him he had “anger issues”. Another said he was ‘too aggressive’ and seemed to have little social life outside of work. The mother of one of the victims claimed that Bing seemed to resent her son – even attempting to fire him this year. But others described Bing as friendly and said they never imagined he would carry out such an attack, which police say ended when Bing killed himself.

“We’re actively looking for a pattern right now and want to make sure we fully understand it before we release it,” Kosinski said.

Relatives of the dead faced empty seats at their holiday meals, and the nation had to deal with another episode of high-profile gun violence. The shooting came days after a man was charged with shooting dead five people at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub and less than two weeks after a 22-year-old University of Virginia student was charged with killing three student-athletes returning from a school trip. According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least four mass shootings each week in 2022. The group defines a mass shooting as an episode where four or more people, not including the attacker, are injured or killed.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) referenced the two recent attacks in his state in a Thanksgiving Tweet writing: “On this day when we give thanks for our many blessings, [wife] Suzanne and I ask all Virginians to take a moment to uplift in prayer the families of the victims in Chesapeake and Charlottesville, as well as the many heroes who serve and protect.

Brian Pendleton, 39, one of the six employees killed, was supposed to work at Walmart after Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, said Michelle Johnson, his mother. “I’m in the kitchen now, trying to make Thanksgiving for everyone the best I can,” Johnson said Thursday morning. “But it’s such a different day.”

Johnson said her son, who has a brain condition called congenital hydrocephalus, has worked at Walmart for more than 10 years. This year, she said her son told her Bing had tried to get him fired – leaving Pendleton confused, due to his long service at the company. Johnson told his son to contact Bing’s supervisor and ask him to return to work.

“When he did that, they reinstated Brian,” she said. “I just don’t understand how this all slipped through the cracks. It was so obvious that this man had something – I feel like he had something against my son.

The Washington Post could not immediately corroborate this account, and it was unclear whether Bing had the authority to fire someone. Walmart did not respond to a request for comment on whether Bing tried to fire Pendleton.

Johnson said her son “loves his job”, but she now wonders if more could have been done to protect him. “He had problems with [Bing] at one point, but we thought everything was resolved,” she said.

Bing, who had no apparent criminal record, entered the store Tuesday night armed with a handgun and several magazines and opened fire, authorities said. He targeted co-workers in a break room, according to police and witness testimony.

Friends and loved ones remember the victims as caring and hardworking people. Along with Pendleton was Tyneka Johnson, 22, a fashionista who dreamed of going to college. There was Randall Blevins, 70, who skipped retirement to continue working and loved wrestling and hockey. There was Kellie Pyle, 52, who had just returned to her hometown and reconnected with her high school sweetheart. There was Lorenzo Gamble, 43, whose mother had loaded him with both banana pudding cake and banana pudding for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Another victim, a 16-year-old employee, has not been identified because he is a minor.

Others were injured and two people remained hospitalized in critical condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, spokesman Mike Kafka said on Thursday.

Nathan Sinclair, a former Walmart employee who worked the second shift, said Bing had a less than stellar reputation among his coworkers. “He was known in the store to be hostile at times,” Sinclair, 21, said in a phone interview. “He spoke to you as if he ran the store. … There are always people in jobs that are not liked – André was one of them.

Sinclair, who worked at Walmart from January through the first week of November and lives in Chesapeake, said he sometimes had to interact with Bing towards the end of his shift, but tried to avoid as much as possible. chat with the man.

“He had too many moments where he would be too aggressive,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair said he was told Bing was written off at least twice by Walmart supervisors, though he doesn’t know the details and The Post couldn’t immediately verify the information. Walmart did not immediately respond to a question about whether Bing had ever been disciplined.

At work, Bing was either focused on his work or playing games on his phone, Sinclair said. Although he dislikes Bing, Sinclair describes him as a “hard worker”. Other associates sometimes made fun of Bing’s clothes or hair, Sinclair said.

“Andre was harassed a bit by some store associates,” Sinclair said. “There were definitely other employees who were making fun of him.”

Sinclair said Bing shared that he lives alone and often plays video games when not working. “He had no social life,” Sinclair said. “It was work, home. Homework. He didn’t seem to have much of a support system, if any.

Janice Strausburg said she worked at different Walmarts for about 13 years before quitting this year to become a Lyft driver. She said she worked with Bing for about five years at the store where the shooting happened.

Strausburg said she and Bing talked often, but they parted ways after he chatted about her with co-workers. She said she did not recall the nature of his comments.

Bing was “cranky but sometimes nice,” Strausburg said, and he once confided in her that he had anger issues.

“I think it was because of the demons,” she said of Tuesday night’s attack. “Mental issues.”

Michelle Henry, who worked at Walmart between 2016 and 2018, said she knew Bing when he was still a partner. She described him as a hard worker who people got along well with. “Andre was just a normal everyday guy. I laughed with him many times,” she said. “I can’t believe he did that.”

She said she had never heard Bing talk about family, but he talked about friends outside of work.

“The only explanation I can think of is poor mental health,” Henry said. “They are good people he killed. They didn’t do anything wrong to anyone. »

Efforts by The Post to locate Bing’s relatives were unsuccessful.

The aftermath of the shooting has cast a pall over Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 located in the southeast corner of Virginia.

Zachary Adkins, 32, and his girlfriend were sitting in his car a few feet from the police tape lining the Walmart parking lot. They were driving and decided to stop and pay their respects.

“We just thought it was the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s sad so close to the holidays. We are having a big family dinner. These people can’t go there.

Matt Cilento, who worked as a police officer in Chesapeake from 2000 to 2007 and now operates a towing business, said after the shooting a few of his employees wanted to do something to honor the victims. They decided to build crosses, which they delivered Thursday to the Walmart parking lot, alongside the many flowers laid there by mourners.

“I hope people know that everyone in the city of Chesapeake is there to support them,” Cilento said. “It’s not just about their families and friends. It’s everyone in the community.

Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.


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