City holds vigil, honors 6 dead in Virginia Walmart shooting

Nov 27, 2022, 8:08 AM | Updated: Nov 28, 2022, 7:21 pm
Walmart employees stand together during a candlelight vigil at Chesapeake City Park in Chesapeake, ...

Walmart employees stand together during a candlelight vigil at Chesapeake City Park in Chesapeake, Va., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, for the six people killed at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., when a manager opened fire with a handgun before an employee meeting last week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — Hundreds gathered Monday in Virginia’s second-largest city to honor six people killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart, with the state’s governor pledging to confront a “mental health and a behavioral health crisis.”

Chesapeake’s candlelight vigil paid tribute to a diverse group of third-shift workers, ages 16 to 70, who unloaded trucks, broke down cardboard boxes and stocked shelves in this sprawling but tight-knit community near the coast.

The employees were slain Tuesday night by a store supervisor, who also died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Several others were wounded.

The shooter left behind a note that claimed he was harassed and pushed to the brink by a perception his phone was hacked, police said. The handgun that was used was legally purchased that morning, and he had no criminal record.

“I’m not alone in concluding that we have a mental health and a behavioral health crisis in the United States and in Virginia,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a city park. “A crisis that shows up in all facets of our society, in our homes, in our schools, in our workplace.”

The Republican governor said he will work across party lines “to chart a path forward.”

Much of the vigil focused on those who died and efforts to help this city of about 250,000 people to heal. And many people wrote messages on six white crosses as the sun set and a crescent moon hung low in the sky.

Among them was Doris Manuel, who lost nephew Brian Pendleton, 38.

“We know when something like this happens it’s not just us. It’s a whole city, a whole region,” she said.

Tammy Hawkins came in place of her son, Christian, who was too shook up over the death of high school friend Fernando Chavez-Barron.

“He loved Fernando like a brother,” Hawkins said.

Chesapeake City Councilman Don J. Carey III shared details on each victim.

Chavez-Baron had started working at the store to lessen the financial burden on his parents. His dad said he was his best friend.

Pendleton lived a clean life and believed in Jesus Christ. Despite not having a car or a driver’s license, he got to work on time for 11 years, never wanting to miss a shift.

Lorenzo Gamble, 43, was a quiet and reserved man who loved spending time with his two sons.

Tyneka Johnson, 22, had a smile that could light up any room. Her mom said she felt like she lost her best friend.

Kellie Pyle, 52, spread positivity wherever she went and would give her last dollar to make sure her friends and family had their needs met.

Randy Blevins, 70, was a kind and gentle man who loved Thanksgiving because he got the day off and could spend time with his family.

“We honor and pray for all those who were injured that night,” Carey said. “And for those throughout our community who suffered emotional wounds: We see you. We love you. We are here for you.”

Earlier Monday, the City Council held a brief special meeting to approve a resolution that will help free up funding for the response to and recovery from the shooting.

The Walmart, still closed, sits along a suburban strip of box stores that are located about a half-hour drive from the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. For many here, the store served as a de facto community center that facilitated unplanned chats in the aisles.

“You could run into your physician, teachers, principals,” Cliff Hayes, a lawmaker in Virginia’s House of Delegates, told The Associated Press. “This was a centralized place that will forever be changed.”

Walmart has more than 4,700 stores across the country and employs about 1.7 million people in the U.S. And yet each store can be unique, said Adam Reich, a Columbia University sociology professor who co-wrote the book, “Working for Respect, Community and Conflict at Walmart.”

The book describes life experiences that drew workers to Walmart and analyzes dynamics among employees. In some stores — though not all – workers formed strong bonds despite their varying backgrounds, Reich said. And it was often those tight relationships that kept associates in their jobs for long periods.

“It’s sort of astonishing that, on the one hand, Walmart is so standardized,” Reich said. “But on the other hand, there’s just so much variation and uniqueness that workers manage to establish and carve out in their individual stores. I don’t know the story of this store, but it sounds from the little I’ve read that that’s what workers had done here.”


Associated Press reporter Sarah Rankin in Richmond contributed to this story.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - People visit the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida...
Associated Press

Florida to begin session on Disney district, migrant flights

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will meet Monday to complete a state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district and expand a migrant relocation program, key conservative priorities of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of his expected White House run. Republican leaders of the statehouse, in coordination with DeSantis, have ordered the Legislature to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Media watchdog urges release of journalist detained in Kabul

PARIS (AP) — Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders along with 14 French media outlets and production companies on Monday called on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to release a journalist imprisoned for a month in Kabul. In a joint statement, RSF and French media said journalist Mortaza Behboudi, with dual French and Afghan citizenship, was arrested on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Liz Weston: ‘Bridge’ your way to Social Security

Delaying the start of Social Security benefits is a powerful way for retirees to cope with inflation, survive bad investment markets and reduce the risk they’ll run short of money. The advantages of waiting are so great that financial planners often recommend their clients tap other savings, such as retirement funds, to help them delay […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

48 arrested in Europe over encrypted app used in drug trade

BERLIN (AP) — European investigators have shut down an encrypted communication service that was used as a secure channel for organized crime, particularly in the drug trade, and arrested 48 people, German authorities said Monday. More than 70 properties were searched in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland on Friday, when the arrests were made, […]
1 day ago
NATO's Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana, left, and Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, ...
Associated Press

Norway looks to donate $7.3 billion in aid to Ukraine

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Oil-rich Norway is looking to donate 75 billion kroner ($7.3 billion) to Kyiv as part of a five-year support package that would make the Scandinavian country one of the world’s biggest donors to war-torn Ukraine, the Norwegian government said Monday. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said the money would be split […]
1 day ago
A woman walks out from a residential building which was hit by a Russian rocket, in the city center...
Associated Press

Russian forces keep up pressure as Ukraine anniversary nears

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with fighting in the eastern Donbas region as Moscow assembles additional combat power there for an expected offensive in the coming weeks, Ukrainian officials said Monday. Weeks of intense fighting continued to rage around the city of Bakhmut and the nearby towns of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
City holds vigil, honors 6 dead in Virginia Walmart shooting