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Updates from deadly Virginia Walmart shooting: NPR > Virginia

Authorities have released the names of five of the six victims of a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. The sixth victim was 16 years old.


The city of Chesapeake, Virginia, is reeling this Thanksgiving Day from the mass shooting earlier this week at a Walmart. The city released the names of five of the six people killed. However, authorities are withholding the name and photo of the sixth victim, a minor. Police identified the shooter as a 31-year-old Walmart employee. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This was the third mass shooting in Virginia in just two weeks. Reporter William Wan followed developments for The Washington Post. William, what else can you tell us about the victims?

WILLIAM WAN: Yes, we learned a lot about them. It’s pretty sad you know? You know, we spoke to Lorenzo Gamble’s mother. You know, he’s 43 years old, was a – was a long-time janitor at this Walmart. He was preparing to bake cakes and banana pudding for his family. His mother said he had two sons. They wanted a total of 16 family members for their Thanksgiving dinner. And she told him you need to cook more. There will be many people. And she was talking about how yesterday after it all happened, she went into his house, made his bed, put his things in order and saw the ingredients for this banana pudding cake in his kitchen and knew he’d never be there, to bake him again.

There was Kellie Pyle too. She was a young grandmother aged 52. She had two grown children and a 2-year-old granddaughter who she would be spending Thanksgiving with and was really looking forward to it, and had just gotten re-engaged to her high school sweetheart. Just story after story of these victims, real people who had plans in their lives, you know, that are now being dashed.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, that’s just awful. What did you learn from the people who were in the store when the shooting happened?

WAN: Yes. I’ve talked to some of these workers and they’re just really shocked. I spoke to Donya Prioleau. She’s on the night stocking crew that works at Walmart. You know, the shooting happened around 10 a.m. And this is the crew that stocks the shelves in the store every night. What they described is that the shooter is, you know, a supervisor at this Walmart. And a team leader they call it.

And that’s how they describe him, just walking into this break room where they were all kind of gathered, making plans for the weekend and just starting filming. They describe it like this – you know, hearing that pop, pop, pop and the weird vision that seemed surreal to a lot of them just as one colleague after another fell to the ground. We know some things like it’s a gun. He shot many people. It seemed to start outside the store and culminate in this break room.

MARTÍNEZ: One more thing very quickly, William. A third mass shooting in Virginia in about two weeks. I mean, how do people deal with things there?

WAN: It’s just – it’s difficult. You know, 10 days ago I covered the University of Virginia shooting. There are many people who are shaken. There is talk of a change in policy, but there is always talk of that too. It’s hard right now I guess, especially with the holidays.

MARTÍNEZ: This is Washington Post reporter William Wan. Thank you William.

WAN: Thank you.

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