A Walmart night crew supervisor killed six people Tuesday night before taking his own life at the Walmart Supercenter in Chesapeake, Virginia, police said Wednesday.
The massacre came as people were shopping for last-minute Thanksgiving items and as the store prepared for Black Friday, when shoppers traditionally head to retailers such as Walmart to buy holiday gifts at bargain prices.
The gunman – identified as Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake – was a disgruntled employee, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News. He was armed with a pistol and had multiple ammunition magazines on him, officials said.
Bing was an overnight team lead, and he had been with the company since 2010, Walmart said.
“We feel tragedies like this personally and deeply. But this one is especially painful as we have learned the gunman was a Walmart associate,” John Furner, Walmart’s U.S. chief executive, said in a message to employees. “Our hearts and prayers are with those impacted, and we are grateful for the actions of first responders.”
Company CEO Doug McMillon, in a LinkedIn post, pledged to support the store’s associates in the aftermath of the shooting.
In June, Walmart said it added a class to its store manager training program that focuses on spotting employees and customers who may need an intervention for mental health issues. Officials said Wednesday they had yet to determine a “clear motive” for Tuesday’s rampage.
The shooting was reported to police shortly after 10 p.m. ET, and officers arrived on the scene within minutes. Police declared the store safe by 11:20 p.m., officials said Wednesday.
A local hospital treated other victims. The gunman used a pistol and apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot, police said Wednesday.
Chesapeake Police and the Virginia State Police executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home, and authorities believe there is no further risk to the public, officials said Wednesday.
The Chesapeake store will remain closed as authorities investigate the shooting. That process could take days, officials said.
The Walmart massacre came days after a deadly mass shooting over the weekend at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in which five people were killed. In May, a white racist gunman shot up a Buffalo, New York, grocery store, killing 10 people in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
Other Walmart stores have been the scenes of deadly shootings. In 2019, a gunman attacked a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing more than 20 people, just days after two store associates were killed in the company’s Southaven, Mississippi, store. At the time, McMillon said Walmart would further restrict gun sales at its stores in response to the shootings.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the shooting a “horrific and senseless act of violence,” and said the country needed to take stronger action on guns.
“We are grateful to the first responders who mobilized to assist victims, and I have directed federal officials to provide any support and assistance needed to the people of Chesapeake,” he said in a statement.
If you are having suicidal thoughts or are in distress, contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor.