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Updates from the deadly Virginia Walmart shooting


The city of Chesapeake, Va., is reeling on 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. Authorities, though, 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 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This was the third mass shooting in Virginia in just two weeks. Reporter William Wan has been tracking developments for the Washington Post. William, what more can you tell us about the victims?

WILLIAM WAN: Yeah, we've been learning a lot about them. It's quite sad, you know? You know, we talked to the mother of Lorenzo Gamble. You know, he's 43 years old, was a - has long time been a janitor at this Walmart. He was getting ready to make cake and banana pudding for his family. His mom said he had two sons. They were going to have 16 family members total at their Thanksgiving dinner. And she was telling him, you know, you got to cook more. It's going to be a lot of people. And she talked about, you know, going into his house yesterday after everything happened, you know, making his bed, straightening his things and seeing the ingredients for that banana pudding cake on his kitchen and knowing he'd never be there to make it again.

There was also Kellie Pyle. She was a young grandmother at age 52. She had two grown children and a 2-year-old granddaughter she was going to spend Thanksgiving with and really was looking forward to that, and had just gotten engaged again with her high school sweetheart. Just story after story of these victims, real people who had plans, you know, in their life that are cut short now.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah, that's just awful. What have you learned from the people who were inside the store when the shooting happened?

WAN: Yeah. I talked to a few of these workers, who are just really shaken up. I talked to Donya Prioleau. She is on that overnight stocking crew that works at Walmart. You know, the shooting happened around 10 at night. And so this is the crew that, you know, refills the shelves every night at the store. What they described is, the shooter, you know, he is a supervisor at that Walmart. And a team lead is what they call it.

And so they describe him just walking into that break room where they are all kind of gathered, making plans for the weekend, and just started shooting. They describe it going - you know, hearing this pop, pop, pop and the weird vision that seemed surreal to a lot of them of just coworker after co-worker falling on the ground. We know a few things, like it was a handgun. He shot many people. It seemed to begin from outside the store and culminated in that break room.

MARTÍNEZ: One more thing really quick, William. A third mass shooting in Virginia in about two weeks. I mean, how are people there handling things?

WAN: It's just - it's difficult. Just, you know, 10 days ago, I was covering the University of Virginia shooting. There's a lot of people who are shaken up. There's talk of policy change, but there's always talk of that as well. It's hard right now, I think, especially with holidays.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Washington Post reporter William Wan. Thanks a lot, William.

WAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.