Walmart mass shooting: First victim killed at Chesapeake store is identified as 21-year-old employee

In a heartbreaking Facebook post late on Wednesday night, Tyneka Johnson’s family begged for help in finding out what had happened to her

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 24 November 2022 15:52 GMT
'Multiple fatalities' as gunman opens fire at Walmart store, police say

The first victim killed in the mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, has been identified as a 21-year-old worker at the store, after her family issued a desperate appeal to find her in the aftermath of the horror attack.

Tyneka Johnson died when a coworker opened fire inside the superstore on Sam’s Circle just after 10pm on Tuesday night.

In a heartbreaking Facebook post late on Tuesday night, Johnson’s family begged for help in finding out what had happened to her.

“We need help locating my lil cousin. She is  an employee at Walmart,” wrote a desperate family member.

“Everyone need to know if  she is safe. This post is about helping and locating Tyneka Johnson. No questions. Just help.”

Hours later, the family members posted a photo of the 21-year-old with heartbreak emojis.

One relative confirmed her death to 7NewsDC on Wednesday, describing her as “the nicest person, who never bothered anyone”.

A makeshift memorial featuring her name was left in the parking lot of the Walmart where she was killed.

Johnson, who had not long celebrated her 21st birthday, is one of six victims killed on Tuesday night when a fellow store employee opened fire in the break room of the Walmart.

The gunman, whom Walmart named as 31-year-old Andre Bing in a statement to The Independent, carried out the attack with a pistol before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Four surviving victims are still in hospital with their conditions unknown at this time.

In a press conference on Wednesday morning, Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky said that law enforcement received the first 911 call about the shooting at 10.12pm on Tuesday.

The first officers arrived on the scene two minutes later at 10.14pm and entered the store two minutes after that at around 10.16pm.

Tyneka Johnson was identified as a victim of Tuesday’s shooting (Facebook)

Officers found the suspect dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds and declared the scene safe, said Chief Solesky.

Six victims were killed in the attack while several more were rushed to hospital.

Following a search of the suspect’s home, Chief Solesky said that there is “no ongoing risk to the public”.

Police said that the attacker used a pistol in the attack but released no further details about the murder weapon – including the exact make and model and whether or not it was legally purchased and registered to the suspect.

Officials did not release the identities of the gunman or the victims and it is currently unclear whether or not the gunman “targeted” his victims or carried out the shooting at random, with the motive for the attack unknown.

One Walmart employee who survived the attack claimed that the gunman had “issues” with some of their other colleagues and was “laughing” as he opened fire on his victims.

The witness, who was not named, told local network 10 On Your Side that the shooting unfolded when 14 employees were sat in a meeting room about to go on shift.

The group of workers were waiting to learn their duties for the shift when the suspect began firing, she said.

The worker, who was just five days into the job at the store, said that she believed the shooting was planned because the perpetrator was known to have “issues” with other managers at the branch.

He appeared to target other managers in the shooting and was heard laughing at one point during the attack, she claimed.

“It didn’t even look real until you could feel the gun go off,” she said.

“I will never go back in that store again. I cannot, I can’t even leave my front door.”

Tyneka Johnson’s family confirmed that she was killed in the mass shooting (Facebook)

Kevin Harper, a man who identified himself as a store worker, posted a Facebook Live from outside the store on Tuesday night, where he claimed he had just left the break room when “one of the managers” entered “and just started spraying”.

In the video, he claimed he had a near miss with the shooter as he had just left the break room when gunfire erupted.

“I’d just left out of the break room, manager come up in there, started capping people up in there, started shooting, bro. The manager came in, started dumping, man. As soon as I left out the break room he went in there, man... that s*** wild,” he says in the video.

Mr Harper claims it was “one of the managers” and that other “associates” died in the attack.

“It’s wild, though, it was the manager, one of the managers,” he says.

“Blew people’s brains out and everything... He came in and just started spraying and s***,” he adds.

“Sadly, though, we lost a few of our associates, I don’t know how many.”

Law enforcement on the scene of the shooting in Chesapeake (AP)

Multiple law enforcement agencies have joined the investigation including Virginia Beach Police, the Chesapeake Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington.

It comes just days before Thanksgiving when shoppers were likely stocking up on goods ahead of the holiday season.

Walmart released a statement early on Wednesday saying that it was “shocked” by the event inside one of their stores.

“We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates,” the company said.

“We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates.”

President Joe Biden and several Virginia lawmakers released statements condemning the latest incident of gun violence to tear apart a community in America.

The massacre comes just days after a gunman opened fire inside an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday night.

Five people were killed and 17 others injured when suspected gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire inside Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night.

The massacre came to an end when heroic clubgoers tackled the shooter to the ground and detained him until police arrived on the scene.

The five victims killed in that attack were identified as Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Vance.

This came after another mass shooting in the state of Virginia on 13 November, when three star football players from the University of Virginia were shot and killed as they returned to campus from a field trip.

Fellow student and former football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, allegedly opened fire on the bus.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed in the attack, while two other were injured but survived.

Mr Jones was arrested the following day and charged with murder and other charges.

Back in 2019, a Walmart store was also the site of another horror mass shooting.

A total of 23 people were killed in a mass shooting in a store in the city of El Paso, Texas.

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