CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The man accused of fatally shooting six people and injuring several others at a Walmart in Virginia on Tuesday night legally purchased the gun that morning, police said Friday.
Officers also found a note on the man’s phone that could help investigators determine the motive for what was the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days.
The suspected shooter, identified as Andre Bing, legally purchased the 9mm handgun used in the shooting “from a local store” early Tuesday, police said. He had no criminal history and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Early Friday, rain fell steadily on six white crosses at the site of a makeshift memorial next to the Walmart parking lot. The store was still closed, with first responders moving to the site.
Maria Pulley, 60, a bank manager who lives in the neighborhood, returned in the rain to put red bows on the crosses.
“I just wanted (to let them) know they’re remembered,” Pulley told USA TODAY. “And we’re a community and when they hurt…we all hurt.”
The City of Chesapeake said Thursday that two of the injured remain hospitalized, one in critical condition and the other in fair/improving condition.
Here’s what we know:
Note found on shooter’s phone
Detectives conducted a forensic analysis of Bing’s phone, which was at the scene, and discovered a note titled “Death Note” on the device, police said.
In the note, which police shared publicly with redactions, the author claimed he was “harassed” and “laughed at” by people, later referring to a “management team” and ” associates”. The note makes numerous references to “God” and “murder”.
Police also said Friday that officers executed a search warrant at Bing’s home and found a box of ammunition and “various items” related to the handgun, including a box, a receipt and other documents. .
Bing, 31, had been a Walmart employee since 2010, the company said.
“He was going hunting”, says a witness
Police and witnesses said Bing pulled out a handgun Tuesday night before an employee meeting and began shooting in the break room. While a Walmart employee initially said Bing fired randomly, another later said he believed the attack was targeted.
Employee Jessica Wilczewski said Bing, a night shift supervisor, walked into the break room before the late shift started and opened fire with a goal.
“The way he was acting — he was going hunting,” Wilczewski told The Associated Press. “The way he looked at people’s faces and the way he did what he did, he selected people.”
Wilczewski, who had only worked at the store for a few days, said the shooter let her go when he recognized her, but shot again at other employees whom he had already hit and who were down.
Who were the victims?
Walmart has confirmed that all of those killed – between the ages of 16 and 70 – were employees.
The victims were identified on Wednesday as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, from nearby Portsmouth.
Police initially withheld the name of the 16-year-old boy who was killed, but identified him Friday as Fernando Chavez-Barron of Chesapeake.
Many were longtime Walmart employees, and one was planning to retire next year.
Chavez-Barron had just started working at the store and used his first paycheck for gifts for his mother, WTVR-TV reported.
“I’m at a loss for words and speechless that it was him,” friend Joshua Trejo-Alvarado told WTVR-TV. “I hoped everything was a dream until today. I wish he was still here with me.”
A planned community vigil
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West was scheduled to hold a community vigil Monday to honor and mourn the victims.
Brenton Holloman, 41, an assistant manager at an Edible Arrangements store near Walmart, called the shooting “senseless.”
“(It’s) the way of the world now,” he told USA TODAY. “Anything can happen. You don’t know.”
The local FBI office in Norfolk is assisting the Chesapeake Police in the investigation.
The incident came amid a wave of deadly gun violence in the US Days earlier, a gunman attacked Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring more than one. dozen others. The previous week, three University of Virginia students were shot and killed.
Contributors: Jorge L. Ortiz and Claire Thornton, USA TODAY; The Associated Press. Bibeau reported from Chesapeake, Virginia. Hauck reported from Chicago.