Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 46° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Walmart shooting suspect had note in phone railing against colleagues

Nov. 25, 2022 Updated Fri., Nov. 25, 2022 at 11:17 p.m.

The Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., where authorities say a supervisor shot and killed six colleagues. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Mike Caudill  (Mike Caudill/For The Washington Post)
The Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., where authorities say a supervisor shot and killed six colleagues. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Mike Caudill (Mike Caudill/For The Washington Post)
By Peter Hermann and Jim Morrison Washington Post

The Walmart supervisor who authorities say fatally shot six colleagues in Chesapeake, Virginia, before taking his own life had a note in his phone that railed against people he perceived to have harassed or betrayed him and hinted at what was to come.

“God forgive me for what I’m going to do,” Andre Bing concluded in the note, which the city of Chesapeake released Friday on Twitter.

It was not clear when the note – labeled “Death note” – was written, and portions in which Bing seemed to have named particular people were redacted. On Tuesday night, police have said, Bing – a Walmart employee since 2010 who had most recently been working as a team lead – attacked colleagues working at the store, targeting some in a break room, where police said they found his body.

Police also revealed Friday that Bing had purchased the gun used in the attack that very morning from a local store, which they did not identify.

Charles Crowson, director of Walmart’s corporate communications, said in a statement after the note was released: “There is nothing that can justify taking innocent lives. Our focus continues to be on the families who are grieving and supporting our associates through this difficult time.”

The killings were the latest in a string of high-profile shootings, coming days after a gunman fatally shot five people at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub and less than two weeks after a University of Virginia student was accused of killing three student-athletes on the football team. Police are still trying to learn motives in those attacks.

Bing’s winding, 11-paragraph note includes references to a “demonic aura,” betrayal, a suspicion his phone had been hacked and perceived slights from co-workers. It appears to align with descriptions given by colleagues over the past two days. They said Bing had “anger issues,” was “overly aggressive” and had little social life.

The shootings killed Tyneka Johnson, 22, a fashionista with an ebullient personality; Brian Pendleton, 39, who was supposed to work a shift after Thanksgiving dinner; Randall Blevins, 70, who had eschewed retirement to keep working; Kellie Pyle, 52, who had recently reconnected with her high school sweetheart; Lorenzo Gamble, 43, whose mother had put him in charge of some holiday food dishes; and a 16-year-old identified by police on Friday as Fernando Chavez-Barron.

Chesapeake authorities said the phone was found at the scene of the shooting. Bing was found dead in the break room, along with some of his victims. The note provides the clearest indication yet of a possible motive.

Officials described the handgun Bing used as a 9mm that had been legally purchased. They said a search of Bing’s home revealed a box of ammunition, a box for the gun, a receipt and other paperwork. Authorities said Bing had no prior criminal history.

Attempts to reach Bing’s relatives have been unsuccessful. Two neighbors said they saw him only when he mowed his lawn, and it appeared he had few visitors since he bought his house about two years ago. Colleagues said that at times Bing did not get along with co-workers, whom he supervised on an overnight shift stocking shelves and other duties.

Pendleton’s mother said Bing had tried to fire her son earlier this year, but that he was reinstated after he appealed to higher-ranking Walmart officials. The Washington Post could not immediately confirm that account, and it was unclear whether Bing would have had the authority to terminate an employee. A former employee said workers occasionally teased Bing. Some of what Bing describes appears to be merely his perceptions of what colleagues did or said to him.

Bing wrote associates teamed up and “laughed and made subtle code speeches which I eventually figured out.” He wrote one person “betrayed me,” though he did not explain how, and that someone was “trying to get rid of me.”

Bing wrote of seeing “twisted grins” from employees who “celebrated my downfall.”

“That’s why they suffer the same fate as me,” he wrote.

He said he wanted a wife but “didn’t deserve” one.

But Bing also blamed himself, writing that he failed God: “This was not your fault but my own.”

Chesapeake officials tweeted on Thanksgiving that “we are thinking of every victim of the Walmart shooting and their family members.” On Friday, Mayor Rick West posted an invitation on Twitter to a vigil Monday at 6 p.m. at City Park “so that we can honor the victims and grieve together.”

Near sunset Thursday night, a few people arrived at the Walmart with balloons. Instead of visiting the small memorial there, they stood in the lot.

Over the next few minutes, dozens more gathered, all with the same square silver balloons. A young man said they were there for a friend. It was apparently for Fernando, the slain 16-year-old. Eventually, they walked to a tree and encircled a woman holding a baby. She began call-and-response prayers in Spanish, which continued for 45 minutes, as family and friends of the teen cried out.

The family declined an interview.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.