A group of black pastors led a prayer vigil on Sunday on behalf of the victims who were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.
The effort, organized by the Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors, took place at The Mount Chesapeake church in Virginia Sunday night. The vigil comes after a Walmart store supervisor shot six employees and injured six more last Tuesday. The shooter, identified as 31-year-old Andre Bing, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
As reported by The Virginia Pilot, the event was organized so people could “stand together united as one community to address this senseless act of gun violence that has disrupted families and friends this holiday season.”
“It’s been really hard because I never, ever in a million years thought it would be my baby. He’s gone, but he will always be in my heart,” Linda Gamble, whose son Lorenzo was among those killed, said.
During the vigil, a candle was lit for each victim killed. Those murdered in the shooting were Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron, 16; Kellie Pyle, 52; Tyneka Johnson, 22; Brian Pendleton, 38; and Randy Blevins, 70.
At the end of the service, Gamble and her husband, Alonzo, stood alongside others who had lost a loved one or knew someone who was injured in last week’s shooting or who works at the store.
“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at the Chesapeake, VA store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement released last Wednesday.
“My heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community who have lost or injured loved ones. We are here for them today, and in the challenging days ahead, they have our support,” he continued.
We are devastated by the tragic events that happened at store #1841. Our team is in Chesapeake working swiftly to provide resources to the community and our store associates, and we are continuing our work to create a safe experience for associates and customers in every store. pic.twitter.com/1O8AJbbJ0f
— Walmart (@Walmart) November 23, 2022
McMillon also expressed his appreciation to the store associates, first responders and local officials who provided on-site support “as we work together to navigate this tragedy.”
As reported by WAVY, Chesapeake police released a death note Bing wrote on his phone before the shooting. In the note, Bing accused his co-workers of harassing and bullying him and noted that his phone was hacked, something he described as “the worst feeling imaginable.” He also apologized to God for “failing you.”
While the names in the note were redacted, Bing specified that he would spare one particular person who held “a special place” in his heart “because my mother died from cancer.”
“My God forgive me for what I’m going to do,” the note concluded.
On Monday, the city will hold a candlelight vigil for the victims at 6 p.m. at Chesapeake City Park.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Nathan Howard/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.