Manager turned killer 'had a grudge against my son', says mother of Walmart victim

Andre Bing, 31, the suspect in the deadly shooting of fellow employees at a Walmart store in Chesapeake - CHESAPEAKE POLICE DEPT / REUTERS
Andre Bing, 31, the suspect in the deadly shooting of fellow employees at a Walmart store in Chesapeake - CHESAPEAKE POLICE DEPT / REUTERS

A Walmart manager turned killer had a grudge against one of the victims, his mother has said.

Michelle Johnson said her son Brian Pendleton had no issues at work, except for those with Andre Bing, who was identified as the gunman in the mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia.

"He just didn't like my son," Ms Johnson said. "He would tell me that he would give him a hard time."

Mr Pendleton, 38, was killed when Bing opened fire on fellow employees in the store’s break room on Tuesday, killing six people before turning the gun on himself, officials said.

The other victims were identified as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of nearby Portsmouth.

The name of the youngest victim, a 16-year-old boy, has been withheld because he was a minor.

"We are saddened to announce the names of those we lost on Tuesday evening at the shooting at Walmart on Sam's Circle but hope that with this information we can honour their lives in our community," officials wrote on the city's website.

Brian Pendleton - Chesapeake Police Department
Brian Pendleton - Chesapeake Police Department

The gunman, 31, was dead when officers arrived after apparently shooting himself and police were trying to determine a motive.

One employee described watching "bodies drop" as the assailant fired haphazardly, without saying a word.

"He was just shooting all throughout the room. It didn't matter who he hit. He didn't say anything. He didn't look at anybody in any specific type of way," Briana Tyler said Wednesday.

Ms Tyler said the overnight stocking team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan.

She said the meeting was about to start, and one team leader said: "All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us." Bing then turned around and opened fire on the staff.

Mr Pendleton's shift as a custodian started at 10.30pm, but he was in the break room when the shooting started just after 10pm, according to his mother.

"He called me yesterday before he was going to work," Ms Johnson said. "I always tell him to call me when gets off work."

As she was getting ready for bed, Ms Johnson got a call from a family friend telling her there was a shooting at the Walmart.

"Brian was a happy-go-lucky guy. Brian loved family. Brian loved friends. He loved to tell jokes," his mother said. "We're going to miss him."

Lorenzo Gamble - Chesapeake Police Department
Lorenzo Gamble - Chesapeake Police Department

Mr Gamble was a custodian on the overnight shift and had worked at Walmart for 15 years, The Washington Post reported.

His parents Linda and Alonzo Gamble said he loved spending time with his two sons.

"He just kept to himself and did his job," Linda Gamble said. "He was the quiet one of the family."

His mother said Mr Gamble enjoyed going to his 19-year-old's football games and cheering for the Washington Commanders NFL team.

She posted on Facebook that she's having trouble saying goodbye.

"Missing my baby right now, life is not the same without my son," she wrote.

Kellie Pyle - Chesapeake Police Department
Kellie Pyle - Chesapeake Police Department

Ms Pyle was a mother who had wedding plans in the near future. She has been remembered as a generous and kind person.

"We love her," said Gwendolyn Bowe Baker Spencer. "She was going to marry my son next year. She was an awesome, kind individual - yes she was."

Ms Pyle, from Chesapeake, had adult children in Kentucky who will be travelling to Virginia in the wake of the tragedy, Ms Spencer said.

Randy Blevins - Chesapeake Police Department
Randy Blevins - Chesapeake Police Department

Mr Blevins was a longtime member of the store's team that set prices and arranged merchandise, The New York Times reported.

Former co-worker Shaundrayia Reese, who said she worked at the store from around 2015 to 2018, spoke fondly of Mr Blevins as "Mr Randy."

She said the overnight crew at the store was "a family" and that employees relied on one another.

A makeshift memorial to Ms Johnson was placed in a grassy area outside the Walmart, with the words "Our Hearts are with you" and a basket of flowers.

The remembrance included a cluster of blue, white and gold balloons tied to a tree, alongside a stark yellow line of police tape.

Tyneka Johnson - Chesapeake Police
Tyneka Johnson - Chesapeake Police

The attack was the second time in a little more than a week that Virginia has experienced a major shooting. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a bus as they returned to campus from a field trip on Nov 13. Two other students were wounded.

The assault at the Walmart came days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and wounding 17. Last spring, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Tuesday night's shooting also brought back memories of another attack at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who targeted Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 23 people.