Six people were killed in a shooting at a Virginia Walmart on Tuesday and the gunman died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Six people were killed, six were hospitalized and the suspected gunman died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a mass shooting late Tuesday at a Chesapeake, Va., Walmart, according to police.
Three people, including the shooter, were found dead in the break room of the store. One person's body was found toward the front of the Walmart, the City of Chesapeake, Va., said on Twitter. Three other victims were taken to local hospitals but succumbed to their injuries.
Six more shooting victims were hospitalized, one in critical condition. There were a total of seven fatalities, including the gunman.
The deceased victims were identified by the city Wednesday evening as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins and Tyneka Johnson. The sixth victim has been identified as a 16-year-old boy whose name and image have been withheld due to him being a minor.
"The City of Chesapeake has always been known as the 'City That Cares' and now, more than ever, we know our City will show up for those it need it most," the city said in a statement. "Please join us in praying for the family and friends of these community member who we have lost."
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has ordered for flags in the commonwealth to be immediately flown at half-mast in respect and memory of the victims.
"Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning," he said in a tweet. "Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities."
The suspected shooter has been identified by police as 31-year-old Andre Bing of Chesapeake.
Walmart confirmed in a statement to UPI that Bing had been an employee since 2010, and was an overnight team lead at the time of the shooting.
Authorities said he was armed with a handgun and several magazines were found on his person.
Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said during a press conference Wednesday morning that Bing opened fire in an employee break room with a pistol, although police could not confirm if all of the victims were employees.
Authorities believe at least 50 people were inside the store during the shooting, though officers are still trying to account for anyone who may have been in the Walmart and witnessed the crime.
Solesky said the 911 call came into dispatch at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday. Police arrived two minutes later and entered the Walmart at 10:16. The scene was deemed safe at 11:20 p.m.
When officers arrived, they confronted an unfolding active threat situation and adopted "an active threat response," Leo Kosinski, public information officer with the Chesapeake Police Department, said in an earlier press conference. He added that the officers conducted a tactical entrance of the building and located "multiple fatalities and multiple injured persons."
Chief Solesky said the investigation is continuing. He said the suspect's home had been searched and cleared by police.
Police have not established a clear motive at this time, Solesky said. He added that the investigation is still ongoing and police will likely be processing the scene "for days."
The Washington Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they were en route to assist in the investigation.
"We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Va., store," a Walmart spokesperson told UPI in a statement. "We're praying for those impacted, the community and our associates."
"We are focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families at this time," Walmart said.
The store is closed and is expected to remain that way for several days while investigators collect evidence and process the scene.
Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price said during the press briefing that Mayor Rick West had tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn't be at the press briefing. Price passed along a message from West that the city is "devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place in our city."
"We are united in our support for the victims, their families, their co-workers and the entire community. We ask that you pray for us, for everyone involved in this tragedy," said Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price.
President Joe Biden also offered his condolences to the victims of what he called "yet another horrific and senseless act of violence" while noting his administration's efforts on gun reform in a White House statement.
"Jill and I grieve for those families, for the Chesapeake community, and for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which just suffered a terrible shooting at the University of Virginia this month. We also mourn for all those across America who have lost loved ones to these tragic shootings that we must come together as a nation to stand against."
The shooting comes more than a week after a gunman fatally shot three University of Virginia football players and wounded two others on campus the night of Nov. 14. Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. has been arrested and charged for their murders.
"I am absolutely heartbroken that America's latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia, tonight," State Sen. Louise Lucas, a Democrat, said in a statement. "I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives."
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said he was "sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting."
"Enough is enough," Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweeted.
The city said a reunification site has been established at the Chesapeake Conference Center for immediate family members or the emergency contacts of those who may have been at the Walmart during the shooting.