The death toll from the mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, is likely to rise as a 23-year-old store employee is expected to have his life support machine turned off.
Blake Williams is currently fighting for his life on a ventilator and is unable to breathe on his own after being shot by alleged gunman and colleague Andre Bing during Tuesday night’s massacre, according to his devastated cousin.
Bing, a 31-year-old night manager, opened fire on his colleagues in the break room just after 10 p.m. before turning the gun on himself, police said.
Six Walmart employees were killed in the attack, including Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins and Tyneka Johnson. The sixth victim, a 16-year-old boy from Chesapeake, has not been publicly named because he is a minor.
At least six other surviving victims were taken to local hospitals for further treatment, with three still hospitalized as of Wednesday morning.
Mr. Williams’ cousin, Shannon Cheetham, told them The New York Post that her younger cousin wouldn’t even be working that night.
He usually worked day shifts because he took evening classes at Tidewater Community College, but had agreed to cover a shift for a colleague on Tuesdays.
Now his family is preparing to have to take him off the ventilator, she said.
‘He never came home. He shouldn’t even have been here. Wrong place, wrong time,” said Mrs Cheetham.
The devastated 24-year-old told the After about the moment she learned that Mr. Williams was involved in the attack.
“I was at work and my aunt called me and I picked up the phone and her voice cracked and she just screamed. I knew right away,” she said.
“I couldn’t even move for a good 30 minutes.”
Ms Cheetham paid tribute to her cousin as “fun”, “outgoing” and “humble” with “a smile that lit up the room”.
She also revealed that she knew Bing – the man accused of shooting her cousin – said she saw him often in the Crestwood neighborhood where he grew up.
When she visited the store where he worked, he recognized her and “waved,” she said, adding, “You never thought someone like that would do something so extreme.” Blake never spoke badly of the job or Andre.
Ms. Cheetham also has mutual friends with one of the other Gamble victims and recalled a night when they “had a ball” dancing at a local bar.
The motive for Tuesday night’s horror attack remains unknown, but a law enforcement source told 10 On Your Side that a chilling “manifesto” was found on Bing’s cell phone in the aftermath of the attack.
In the manifesto, Bing outlined a possible motive for the shooting, saying he was “upset” about a recent change in employment status and complaining that he was being “harassed” by colleagues.
Several of Bing’s colleagues have also spoken out to reveal that he had many “issues” with other staff members and engaged in threatening behavior leading up to the shooting.
Joshua Johnson, a former Walmart employee who worked as a maintenance worker at the store until 2019, said the 31-year-old had issued a poignant warning about what he might do if he ever lost his job.
“He said if he ever got fired, he would retaliate and people would remember who he was,” Johnson told TUSEN.
Another former associate, who worked with the alleged gunman at the store from 2015 to 2018, revealed he was paranoid about the government watching him.
“He always said the government was watching him. He disliked social media and he kept black tape on his phone camera. Everyone always thought there was something wrong with him,” said Shaundrayia Reese.
“He didn’t like being admitted. He was always afraid that the government was listening.”
Police received a report of an active shooting in the store at 10:12 p.m. Tuesday.
The first officers arrived on scene two minutes later at 10:14 PM and entered the store two minutes later at around 10:16 PM.
Officers found the suspect dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the break room, along with two of his alleged victims. Another victim was found dead in front of the store. Three other victims were rushed to hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries.
Police confirmed that Bing was armed with a handgun and several gun magazines and was dressed in civilian clothes at the time of the attack.
In the aftermath of the shooting, a search warrant was executed at the suspect’s home, with Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky confirming there was “no ongoing risk to the public.”
Walmart confirmed that Bing was the overnight team leader at the store and had been with the company since 2010.
The mass shooting is breaking news in America after a gunman opened fire at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night.
Five people were killed and 17 others injured when suspected gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.
The carnage came to an end when heroic clubbers tackled the gunman to the ground and held him until police arrived.
The five victims killed in that attack were identified as Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Vance.
This came after another mass shooting in the state of Virginia on November 13, when three star University of Virginia football players were shot and killed as they returned to campus from a field trip.
Fellow student and former football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, reportedly opened fire on the bus.
Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry, and Devin Chandler were killed in the attack, while two others were injured but survived.
Mr Jones was arrested the next day and charged with murder and other charges.
In 2019, a Walmart store was also the site of another horror mass shooting. A total of 23 people were killed in a mass shooting at a store in the city of El Paso, Texas.