CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A night of holiday shopping quickly turned into terror and grief inside a Chesapeake Walmart Tuesday night.
A store employee shot and killed six people before turning the weapon on himself at the store located off Battlefield Boulevard. Chesapeake Police identified Andre Bing, 31, as the lone shooter. Police found him dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A Walmart spokesperson confirmed he was an employee of the store. The gunman worked as an overnight team leader and had been employed with the company since 2010.
Seven other people are hurt, and of those, three remained hospitalized as of Wednesday.
“We are truly saddened by this tragedy that has taken place in our community,” said Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky.
At least 50 people were inside the store when the shots began, authorities said Wednesday. Two patients are in critical condition and one person is in good condition at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital, according to hospital representatives.
"You hope a day like this never comes, but you train for it,” said Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price.
According to the police, someone called 911 around 10:12 p.m. Tuesday. Officers arrived on scene two minutes later and entered the store at 10:16 p.m., said Solesky. They deemed the area safe an hour later.
Officers found three of the victims and the gunman dead in the store’s break room, and one person was found shot to death near the front of the store. The shooter had a handgun and several magazines. He was wearing regular clothing and not tactical gear, said police.
A SWAT team swept the suspect's home, as investigators combed through his background to figure out a motive.
“We are all praying for the families, friends and coworkers of everybody affected by this senseless violence," said Solensky.
The Walmart store will remain closed for several days because of the investigation, officials said. Investigators towed a vehicle from the store’s parking lot.
There is a tip line for anyone with information that can help investigators. Police said they are still trying to account for anyone who may have been at the store and witnessed the shooting but fled prior to officers' arrival. At this time, anyone with information may submit it to the FBI hotline, 1-800-CALLFBI.
“Pray for the families because this time of year should be a joyful time of year for everybody,” said Virginia Senator Lionel Spruill.
Spruill said this tragedy is not something he expected in Chesapeake. He hopes it’s a “wake-up call” for action.
“Members of the General Assembly, it starts with us. We have to pass laws,” said Spruill.
Below is a list of live updates on the shooting and its aftermath Tuesday night into Wednesday and Thursday:
5:12 p.m. Thursday - Condition of one patient starts to improve
The City of Chesapeake tweeted that the condition of one of the hospitalized victims is starting to improve, while the other victim remains in critical condition.
The city went on to say they planned a vigil for 6 p.m. Monday at Chesapeake City Park.
10:45 a.m. Thursday - 2 patients remain in critical condition
In a 10 a.m. update, a spokesperson for Norfolk Sentara General Hospital said two patients remain in critical condition and are still being treated.
The next update from the hospital is expected Friday at 10 a.m.
8:30 p.m. - Patient released from SNGH
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital said that a patient who had previously been listed in good condition was released from the hospital on Wednesday. Two other patients who are in critical condition continue to be treated at SNGH.
"We remain in close coordination with local law enforcement and are providing support to families and our communities during this time," a hospital spokesperson said.
The hospital expects to give another update at 10 a.m. Thursday.
5:08 p.m. - Victims identified
The Chesapeake Police Department identified the six victims who died in the Walmart mass shooting:
- Brian Pendleton, 38, of Chesapeake
- Kellie Pyle, 52, Chesapeake
- Lorenzo Gamble, 43, of Chesapeake
- Randy Blevins, 70, of Chesapeake
- Tyneka Johnson, 22, of Portsmouth (CPD previously said her age was 38 and has since sent a correction)
- A 16-year-old boy from Chesapeake. His name and picture were withheld due to the victim being a minor.
4:20 p.m. - Resources for Walmart employees
Walmart set up an associate resource center for associates and their family members following the Chesapeake store's closure.
The center will provide counseling, meals and a place to connect with each other.
Today, it is open until 7 p.m. at the Springhill Suites located at 1446 Crossways Boulevard. Starting tomorrow, the center will be at the Delta Hotel by Marriott at 725 Woodlake Drive for the next two weeks. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3:30 p.m. - Chesapeake Regional Medical Center releases some patients
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare said they released the four people who had been hurt in the Chesapeake Walmart last night. It's not clear if those people were hurt by gunshots, or something else. A spokeswoman said their wounds were minor.
The latest statement from Sentara Healthcare had two people in critical condition, and one patient in good condition.
2:40 p.m. - Chesapeake says shooter had several magazines
The City of Chesapeake sent out an update Wednesday afternoon clarifying some details of the shooting inside Walmart.
There were 50 people inside the store when shots first started firing, a spokesperson said.
Six people were hurt, and medics took them to local hospitals. Seven people, both at the scene and throughout the hospitals, have died.
Chesapeake said three people including the suspected shooter (Andre Bing) were found dead in the Walmart break room. One victim had died near the front of the store.
The other three people who died made it to hospitals first, but doctors couldn't save them from their injuries.
The city said Bing had one handgun with several magazines with him when they found his body. Police said Bing was dressed in civilian clothing and did not have on any type of body armor or ballistic vest.
The Chesapeake Police Department also released a photo of the suspect:
The police department is still trying to connect with people who were in the store, and witnessed the shooting, but ran out before officers got there. Anyone with information can call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI.
We also know that the Chesapeake SWAT team got a search warrant for Bing's house, and they (with Virginia State Police) cleared the house. Police haven't said what, if anything, they found there.
Chesapeake will share the names of the victims once they've spoken with everyone's family members.
"It is of the utmost importance that we put their families first and approach the release of their information with sensitivity," the city wrote.
1:30 p.m. - Sentara doctors speak about experience
Michael Hooper, the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Sentara Norfolk General, said he was proud of the employees who came together to take care of people coming into the hospital last night.
Because Sentara is a Level One Trauma Center, it regularly takes some of the most serious cases.
That designation means Sentara has a lot of specialists and a dedicated trauma team for 24/7 coverage. They have a staff of over 3,000 employees and hundreds of medical doctors on staff.
For a brief time last night, the hospital was on lockdown, but Hooper said that was just a matter of procedure. They try to lock down the building during mass casualty events, until they know that none of their patients are being continually threatened.
Hooper wanted the community to know that they've got "a great hospital with tons of great people who work endlessly to be prepared for these types of events."
Hooper said they train for influxes of trauma patients like this frequently.
"But I think all of us would like to not have to do this."
He said the hospital's chaplaincy team came early this morning, and has been helping victims, their families and hospital staff. Sentara Norfolk General also has mental health resources and doctors to help with that.
He said he's connecting people with resources in the community as they leave the hospital, too, because this is a serious, life-changing event for them.
Dr. Jessica Burgess, an acute care surgeon, was called in last night. She said she wasn't the only one.
"People came out of the woodwork to be here," she said.
The team had to work together and nail communication to make room for the new patients, and triage everyone for the best care.
"We were able to handle more than the patients we received," she said.
For her, it was about being there for people in their moments of greatest need.
"This is what we what to do, this is where we want to be, so we're proud of what we did last night," she said.
1:18 p.m. - Suspected shooter identified
Walmart and Chesapeake officials identified the suspected shooter as Andre Bing, 31, a store associate who worked as the overnight team's lead. He was employed since 2010.
He was armed with one handgun and had multiple magazines on him, according to Chesapeake city officials.
City officials said they're still working to communicate with the victims' families and will release their information as soon as possible.
12:15 p.m. - CEO of Walmart gives statement
Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, posted on Facebook about the deadly shooting, saying it "hit our Walmart family hard."
He said the company would be with the Chesapeake store's community today, and in the challenging days to come.
12:22 p.m. - Police give update on victims
The Chesapeake Police Department said it is working with the families of victims before their identities are released.
As of this update, police said seven people are dead. Three people -- including the shooter -- were found dead in the break room of the Walmart. A fourth victim was found dead toward the front of the store. Three other victims were taken to area hospitals, where they later died (two at Sentara Norfolk General, one at Chesapeake Regional).
Police said at least six other victims were also taken to area hospitals for medical treatment. One person remains in critical condition at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and one at SNGH has non-life-threatening injuries. Four people are being treated at Chesapeake Regional with injuries that are not gunshot-related.
Police said they are working with other area hospitals to determine if any other victims may have transported themselves.
10:30 a.m. - White House statement on shooting
President Joe Biden released a statement, calling the shooting "another horrific and senseless act of violence."
"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," Biden wrote. "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."
READ MORE | Walmart mass shooting: Biden, state, local officials respond in wake of deadly Chesapeake shooting
10:27 a.m. - FBI opens tip hotline
The FBI's Norfolk division opened a tip hotline to gather information related to the shooting. Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
9:01 a.m. - Additional victims at Chesapeake Regional
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare confirmed that its hospital is treating two people who were hurt at the Walmart last night.
One of those patients is a gunshot victim, and the other person had a minor injury, but it wasn't from a gunshot.
It's not clear how badly the gunshot victim at this hospital was hurt.
8:32 a.m. - Sentara shares victim numbers
Sentara Healthcare gave an update about the victims in the hospital.
There are five patients total -- two have died, two are considered to be in critical condition, and one patient is in good condition.
Those two people who died are included in the police chief's count of six victims.
A spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department confirmed these numbers are correct.
8:08 a.m. - Police chief speaks
In a morning press conference, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said they're praying for the victims, along with their families and coworkers.
He said his police officers were well trained for a situation like this, and thanked the city for a multi-agency response.
Police officers got to the scene within two minutes of the first 911 call, Solesky said.
Six victims were killed, four victims are being treated in area hospitals, and the suspect died from what police believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The chief said he thinks there's no risk to the public at this time.
Solesky said he couldn't share the name of the shooter, because his next-of-kin had not been notified.
It could take them days to process the scene with the FBI, he said, and the Walmart would be closed during that time.
7:57 a.m. - Police to give update
The Chesapeake Police Department is set to hold a press conference about what we know so far at 8 a.m. You can watch it in this story, on our YouTube or on the 13News Now streaming platforms.
7:04 a.m. - New information released
ABC News has confirmed that the shooter entered the breakroom of the Walmart and began to fire at fellow employees before turning the gun on himself.
Sources say that it is possible that the shooter was a manager. 13News Now has not independently confirmed this information.
5:42 a.m. - Chesapeake Mayor issues statement
4:30 a.m. - Number of Deaths Confirmed
Chesapeake police confirmed that seven people died, including the shooter, at the scene overnight. At least 5 others were hurt and are being treated at SNGH, according to the hospital. Other area hospitals have not confirmed if they are caring for any additional victims.
3:21 a.m. - News Conference Announced
The City of Chesapeake tweeted that a press conference will be held to discuss the Walmart mass shooting at 8 a.m. at their at the Public Safety Operations Center, which is located at 2130 S. Military Hwy.
A shooting inside a Chesapeake Walmart Tuesday night left seven people dead, including the shooter, according to the Chesapeake Police Dept.
It happened inside the Walmart on Battlefield Boulevard. The call came in just before 10:15 p.m.
Leo Kosinski, a spokesperson with the department, said within 45 minutes after arriving at the scene, police found multiple dead and injured people in the store. Officers put rescue and tactical teams together to go inside to tend to victims, he said.
According to Kosinski, police believe that the shooting had stopped by the time officers arrived. Kosinski said he doesn’t believe police fired shots, but he could not say whether the shooter was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.
Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, confirmed Norfolk Sentara General Hospital is currently treating five patients from the shooting. 13News Now has reached out to other hospitals in the area but has yet to hear back.
Police officers are still investigating inside the Walmart; however, the shooter was confirmed dead just after midnight.
A law enforcement source told ABC News that "preliminary info is it was an employee, possible manager, went in break room and shot other employees, and himself." Kosinski could not confirm that information to 13News Now.
The City of Chesapeake has set up a "family reunification site" located at 700 Conference Center Drive. It's for family members who believe their loved ones may have been inside the Walmart.
Early Wednesday morning, US Senator Mark Warner tweeted that he was "sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake."
"I urge all those in the community to listen to guidance from local law enforcement and stay away from the scene," Warner added in the tweet.
Walmart tweeted: "We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store. We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates."
The FBI is assisting in the investigation.
Shortly after midnight, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) from Washington D.C. said that it was coming to Chesapeake to assist.
The Virginia shooting comes three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. That shooter, who is nonbinary, was arrested after patrons at the club tackled and beat them. The shootings come in a year when the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and just earlier this month, the deaths of three University of Virginia football players in Charlottesville.
Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another shooting at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso and killed 22 people. Walmart didn’t have a security guard on duty that day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.