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Another employee warned Walmart about shooter’s behavior, suit claims

The Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., where six employees were fatally shot. (Mike Caudill for The Washington Post)

A Walmart employee who survived a shooting that killed six colleagues at a Virginia store last month says in a new lawsuit that he complained to management that the gunman, a supervisor, had harassed him before the attack and exhibited threatening behavior.

John Kelly is at least the third employee of the store in Chesapeake, Va., to say Walmart staff had been warned about problems with Andre Bing before Bing opened fire on employees two nights before Thanksgiving then took his own life.

Kelly, who works as an overnight stocker, claims in his lawsuit that Bing was his supervisor and had badgered him since the start of his employment at the Walmart in August 2022. At one point before the shooting, Kelly alleges in the lawsuit, Bing told him: “I don’t care how big you are. I have something to take care of that.”

Kelly is seeking $50 million as part of a legal action claiming that Walmart negligently hired and kept Bing on staff despite warning signs that he could be violent, and that he had exhibited troubling behavior toward other employees.

The suit is the second against Walmart over the shooting. Another employee, Donya Prioleau, who is represented by the same law firm as Kelly, filed a suit making similar claims in Chesapeake Circuit Court late last month. She claimed her mother had reported Bing to management and told them her daughter feared for her safety because of him.

Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, said in a statement that the chain is “heartbroken” by the shooting but would not immediately comment on the lawsuits.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to our associates and everyone impacted, including those who were injured,” Hargrove said. “We are focused on supporting all our associates with significant resources, including counseling. We are reviewing the Complaints and will be responding as appropriate with the court.”

James Credle, another employee, also said in an interview that he had complained to staff about Bing.

Lawsuit claimes Walmart shooter had exhibited threatening behavior for months

Echoing Prioleau’s lawsuit, Kelly’s suit claims Bing had a vendetta against some employees and told colleagues he would retaliate if he was fired, saying “people will remember my name.” Both lawsuits also claim Bing was disciplined by Walmart and had been demoted for his interactions with other employees, before eventually being reinstated as a team lead.

“Mr. Bing demonstrated a pattern of disturbing behavior leading up to the shooting, which Walmart knew, or should have known,” both lawsuits claim.

Kelly was in the Walmart break room on the night of Nov. 22 when Bing walked in and began firing, according to his lawsuit. Kelly claims he ran out of the break room “as fast as he could” and fell, injuring his ankle.

Police have not offered a motive for the shooting, but they have released a “death note” in which Bing laid out grievances with several colleagues. Police said none of the people named in the note were people who were shot by Bing.

Killed in the shooting were Randy Blevins, 70; Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron, 16; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Tyneka Johnson, 22; Brian Pendleton, 39; and Kellie Pyle, 52.