Chesapeake, Va. The man accused of shooting and killing six people and wounding several others at a Virginia Walmart on Tuesday night legally purchased a gun that morning, police said Friday.
Authorities also found a note on the man’s phone that could help investigators determine the reason behind the country’s trouble. Second high profile mass shooting in four days
Police said the suspected gunman, identified as Andre Bing, legally purchased the 9mm pistol used in the shooting early Tuesday “at a local store.” Police said he had no criminal record and that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Like the vast majority of U.S. states, Virginia does not require a waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of firearms, according to the nonprofit organization Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
On Friday morning, it was raining steadily on six white crosses at the site of a makeshift memorial next to a Walmart parking lot. The shop was still closed, with lifeguards walking around the site.
Maria Pulli, 60, a bank manager who lives in the area, returned in the rain to lay a red ribbon on the cross.
“I just wanted (him) to know that he is remembered,” Pulley told USA TODAY. “And we are a community and when they are hurt … it hurts all of us.”
The city of Chesapeake said Thursday that two of the injured were hospitalized, one in critical condition and the other in stable/improved condition.
This we know:
they found a note on the attacker’s cell phone
Police said detectives conducted a forensic analysis of Bing’s phone, which was found at the scene, and found a note labeled “death note” on the device.
In the note, which police publicly shared with the newsroom, the author claimed he was “harassed” and “laughed at” by people, later referring to a “management team” and “associates” . The note makes several references to “god” and “murder”.
Police also said Friday that officers executed a search warrant at Bing’s home and found “various items” related to firearms, including a box of ammunition and a box, receipts and other documents.
The company said Bing, 31, had been a Walmart employee since 2010.
‘I was going hunting,’ alleges a witness
Police and witnesses say Bing pulled out a gun and began shooting in the break room Tuesday night before a staff meeting. While one Walmart worker initially said Bing fired at random, another later said she believed the attack was targeted.
Employee Jessica Wilczewski said that Bing, the team leader for the night, entered the break room before the start of the night shift and opened fire on purpose.
“The way he was acting: He was going hunting,” Wilzewski told The Associated Press. “The way he looked at people’s faces and the way he did it, he was choosing people.”
Wilczewski, who had only worked at the store for a few days, said the gunman left as soon as he recognized him, but fired again at the other employees he had already killed who were downstairs.
Who were the victims?
Walmart confirmed that all of the deceased, who ranged in age from 16 to 70, were employees.
The victims were identified Wednesday as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kelly Pyle, 52; Lawrence Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, all of Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth.
Police did not initially name the 16-year-old boy who was killed, but on Friday identified him as Fernando Chavez-Barron of Chesapeake.
Several were longtime Walmart employees, and one was planning to retire next year.
WTVR-TV reported that Chavez-Barron had just started working at the store and used her first paycheck on gifts for her mother.
“I was stunned and speechless that it was him,” friend Joshua Trejo-Alvarado, 17, told WTVR-TV. «I hoped that everything until today was a dream. I wish he was still here with me.”
The Victims First crowdfunding campaign is one of the first fundraising efforts for the victims and survivors of the shooting. GoFundMe confirmed the authenticity of the campaign.
community eve set
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West was expected to hold a community vigil on Monday to honor and mourn the victims.
Brenton Holloman, 41, the assistant manager of an Edible Arrangements store near Walmart, called the shooting “senseless.”
“[It]is the way of the world now,” he told USA Today. “Anything can happen. You don’t know”.
Malaria Madden, 30, visited a shopping center near Walmart on Friday. She lives in North Carolina but shops in the area all the time. He added that safety is something he is always concerned about and that the shooting “hit a little harder now because it was so close to home.”
But she said that wasn’t stopping her from dating him. “Life goes on,” he said.
The FBI’s Norfolk Field Office is assisting Chesapeake Police in the investigation.
The incident happened amid a wave of deadly gun violence across America. A few days earlier, a gunman attacked LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others. A week earlier, three students at the University of Virginia were shot and killed.
Contributed by: George L. Ortiz and Claire Thornton, USA TODAY; The Associated Press. Bibeau reported from Chesapeake, Virginia. Hawk reported from Chicago.