Walmart Manager Goes On Violent Rampage; Kills 7 In Break Room Shooting


Photo from the Associated Press

Brandon Level

On Wednesday, November 22nd, just days before Thanksgiving, Andre Biggs purchased a 9mm handgun and proceeded to carry out a shooting in the breakroom of a Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart. He ended up killing six people, including a 16-year-old boy.

Biggs has been employed at the Chesapeake Walmart since 2010 and reportedly worked as an overnight shift leader. At around 10:12 p.m., about an hour before the Walmart was scheduled to close, Andre Biggs began his rampage when he “came in there and just started spraying,” said employee Kevin Harper. In a Facebook Live video, Harper explained that “[He] just left out the breakroom … [the gunman] starts cappin’ people up in there.”

In a statement from the city’s Twitter account, “Three individuals, including the shooter, were located deceased in the break room of the store — One victim was located deceased toward the front of the store. Three other victims were transported to local hospitals for further treatment, but succumbed to their injuries.” Among those killed were a 16-year-old boy named Fernando Chavez-Barron, 52-year-old Kellie Pyle, 38-year-old Brian Pendleton, 43-year-old Lorenzo Gamble, 70-year-old Randy Blevins, and 22-year-old Tyneka Johnson.

According to the police, the first officer arrived on scene within two minutes, and officers entered the store roughly two minutes after that, at about 10:16 p.m. Chesapeake Mayor Rick West was quick to post a video message to the city’s Twitter account on the evening of the shooting, in which he stated that “Law enforcement will do what they can and I promise you, more information will follow.”

Some say this shooting was preventable and wouldn’t have happened if Walmart had taken the numerous reports about Biggs seriously. Allegedly, they knew that he “had known propensities for violence, threats and strange behavior.” Andre Biggs’ phone was retrieved, and on that device, a death note of his was found. His note read, “Sorry everyone but I did not plan this. I promise things just fell in place like I was led by Satan. My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and that my parents would have paid closer attention to my social deficits.I was harassed by idiots with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom. The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day.”

Found in the trash was a list with employees’ names and their shifts. Oddly enough, none of those killed were on the kill list. This led many to point out that mental health is a driving factor in mass shootings and that we need to do better on that end.

In a statement from corporate Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, they said the following: “The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of the valued members of our team.” They continued to express that their “deepest sympathies go out to our associates and everyone impacted, including those who were injured.” Walmart has been relatively careful about their response to the shooting, most likely to avoid a massive lawsuit, but it’s going to get harder to do so.

Last week, one of the shooting survivors filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company for ignoring the repeated complaints and warnings about Biggs. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, physical and emotional distress after witnessing the shooting in the breakroom. Some excerpts from the suit include that “bullets whizzed by plaintiff Donya Prioleau’s face and left side, barely missing her,” and that she “witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her.” Ms. Prioleau “looked one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck. [She] saw the bullet wound in her coworker’s neck, the blood rushing out of it, and the shocked look on her coworker’s helpless face.”

A spokesperson from the company says they are receiving input as to when the best time to reopen would be for the Chesapeake location. A vigil was held less than a week later, on the evening of the 28th. The grieving community came together, along with Chesapeake Mayor Rick West and Governor Glenn Youngkin. They both gave remarks that night. Mayor West kept his remarks mostly about the small, local, grieving community and unity, while Youngkin pledged bipartisan efforts in the Capital to “change the conditions of society that create a lack of respect for human life.”

Funds have been allocated to support the victims’ families, and other survivors, and Mayor West says the city’s human services department is working on ways to give aid to the victims’ families. This shooting is just one of over 600 mass shootings so far this year. This senseless lack of care for life is completely uncalled for and irreparable. It is important for us to grieve with the Chesapeake community, as they and their families have suffered tremendous losses.