At least six people were killed and several others injured when a shooter armed with a pistol opened fire at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, late Tuesday night.
Police believe the shooter, a longtime employee of the store, then killed himself.
"The investigation is still ongoing so there's no clear motive at this time," Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky told reporters Wednesday morning.
Officers were called to the Walmart at 10:12 p.m. ET and arrived at the store within minutes.
In the employee break room, authorities discovered the bodies of two people, as well as that of the shooter with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Another victim was found dead near the front of the store.
At least nine injured people were taken to local hospitals, but three of them died from their wounds.
At least one of the injured people is in critical condition, city officials said.
The people who were killed were identified as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, and Tyneka Johnson. A 16-year-old boy was the sixth person who died, and his name was not immediately released because he was a minor, police said. Police identified the shooter as Andre Bing, 31, of Chesapeake. He had been the overnight "team lead" and had worked for Walmart since 2010, the company told reporters. He was armed with one handgun and several magazines and was not wearing any body armor, police said.
Store employee Donya Prioleau told the New York Times she was with her colleagues when her overnight manager opened fire in the break room. "None of us deserved to witness that,” she said. "I just watched three of my friends killed in front of me."
SWAT teams have also searched and cleared the shooter's house, Solesky told reporters.
"We have reason to believe there is no risk to the public at this time," he said.
Federal officials with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were also on the scene assisting local and state police with the investigation.
The store is expected to be closed for the next few days while detectives gather evidence, according to a news release. To support Walmart associates and their family members, Walmart has set up a resource center for employees that will provide services like counseling and meals. Chesapeake Mayor Rick West expressed his shock and sympathy in a statement posted on Twitter. “I am devastated by the senseless violence that took place last night in our city," West said. "My prayers are with all those affected — the victims, their family, their friends, and their coworkers.
"Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken by this news. Together, we will support each other throughout this time," the mayor added. "Please keep us in your prayers.”
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also posted a message of support on Twitter. "Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities," Youngkin said.
President Joe Biden said the US must do more to confront its epidemic of gun violence. "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.
Workplace mass shootings are not rare in the US. Last year, a former employee of a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killed eight coworkers and himself. Two years prior, a man resigned from his job and then fatally shot 12 others at a Virginia Beach municipal building. In 2016, a shooter killed three people at a turf company in Hesston, Kansas, before being killed by police.
The Chesapeake shooting comes just days after a shooter opened fire at Club Q, a gay bar in Colorado Springs, killing five and leaving at least 18 people injured before being taken down by two patrons.
Earlier this month in Virginia, three football players at the University of Virginia were shot dead on a bus by a fellow student as they returned from a field trip.
The American Public Health Association says gun violence in the US is a public health crisis. It is a leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of Nov. 23, at least 39,696 people have died from gun violence this year, and another 21,582 have died by suicide, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
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