CHESAPEAKE (Virginia) ― A Walmart supervisor who killed six co-workers at a store in Virginia on Tuesday bought a handgun the day of the shooting and left a rambling note on his cellphone in which he railed against other employees who he felt had mocked and betrayed him.
Information on the firearm purchase and note was released by the city of Chesapeake yesterday in an update on its investigation into the shooting, in which 31-year-old Andre Bing opened fire on other workers before turning the gun on himself.
In a separate shooting yesterday, Walmart said it had evacuated a Supercenter in Lumberton, North Carolina. One person was shot at the store and police were searching for a suspect, according to a local CBS affiliate. The Lumberton police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also yesterday, law enforcement officials were investigating threatening phone calls made to two Walmart stores in Virginia Beach, about 20 miles east of Chesapeake, according to police. Known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving has historically been the busiest shopping day of the year.
Bing, an overnight shift team leader, was armed with a handgun when he shot some but not all of the employees assembled in a break room prior to their shift on Tuesday, witnesses and police said, raising the prospect he targeted individuals.
In a search of his home, investigators found ammunition and various items related to the 9mm handgun, including a receipt, according to the update from Chesapeake, a city of 251,000 people about 200 miles (320km) south of Washington.
“The gun was legally purchased from a local store on the morning of Tuesday November 22. He had no criminal history,” the city said in a statement yesterday.
In his note, Bing made reference to an unspecified work failure on his part and perceived slights from co-workers, who he felt were mocking him. He said he believed his phone had been hacked and “was giving the worst feeling imaginable.”
“The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my down fall the last day,” he wrote. “That’s why they suffer the same fate as me.”
The Chesapeake shooting came on the heels of last weekend’s massacre in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a gunman killed five at an LGBTQ nightclub, and marks the latest episode of gun violence in the United States, which averages two mass shootings per day, when defined as an incident killing or injuring four or more people, according to GunViolenceArchive.org.
Bing also wrote in the document titled “death note” that he planned to spare a person, whose name was redacted, because she had a special place in his heart, citing his own mother’s death from cancer.
Asked to comment on Bing’s note, Walmart said in a statement: “There is nothing that can justify taking innocent lives. Our focus continues to be on the families who are grieving and supporting our associates through this difficult time.”
In addition to the seven dead, including Bing, two people are being treated in area hospitals. One is in critical condition and one’s condition is improving, the city said.
The victims ranged in age from a teenage boy to a 70-year-old man. Chesapeake Mayor Rick West invited the community to a vigil on Monday evening to remember all the victims. The event will be held at a city park about three miles south of the cavernous Walmart Supercenter where the shooting occurred. ― Reuters