Although Jessie Wilczewski has only been working a few days at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, her Tuesday night shift started like everyone else’s, with routine team meetings in the break room.
But not long after that meeting began, Wilczewski found herself face-to-face with her team leader, who held a gun to her forehead after shooting her colleague.
She managed to escape and return home to her 15-month-old, but she told CNN that night — the sound of blood hitting the floor — kept replaying in her head.
Six of her colleagues — including a teenage boy — were killed on campus after the gunman, identified by Chesapeake City officials as Andre Bing, 31, began shooting indiscriminately into a room where employees gathered for meetings. Killed in the massacre.
Bing is the “team lead” for the store’s night shift and has been employed by the company since 2010, according to a statement from Walmart. Police said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“It’s scary because it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop replaying when you leave the scene, it doesn’t stop hurting, it doesn’t stop,” Wilczewski told CNN’s Erica Hill on Wednesday night after recounting the horrific experience .
The five dead were identified by city officials as Lorenzo Gamble; Brian Pendleton; Kelly Pyle; Randall Blevins; and Tynika Johnson. The city said the sixth person who died was a 16-year-old boy, whose name authorities did not release because he was a minor. A company spokesperson told CNN they are all Walmart employees.
Wilczewski told CNN she noticed the shooter shortly after 10 p.m., when she was listening to another team leader, and then she turned her head to the door and saw Bing standing with a gun pointed at the crowd — she said At first it was not noticed that this image was real.
But then, following a burst of gunfire, she began to feel a quiver in her chest and a buzzing in her ears, she said. Wilczewski jumped under the table while the gunman left along a nearby hallway.
“I don’t want to be loud, I don’t want him to hear me, make him angry, get him back,” Wilczewski told CNN.
Around her, some colleagues were lying on the floor, while others were lying on chairs—all motionless. She said she knew many people might be dead, but Wilczewski stayed because she didn’t want them to be alone.
“The sound of water droplets[hitting the floor],” she said, “replays, replays, replays, replays.”
When he returned, Wilczewski said the gunman told her to get out from under the table. She obeyed, first showing her bag that she was unarmed, and then raising her arms.
“I slid out from under the table and I was shaking,” she said. “He just put a gun to my forehead.”
He then told her to go home, took the gun away and aimed it at the ceiling.
“I got up very slowly, I tried not to look at everyone on the ground … I had to touch the door that was covered in (blood) and then I walked out the double doors to where I could see the Walmart aisle and … …I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot him in the back, then he’s going to have to work really hard because I’m running,’ and then I booked it,” she said. “I booked it and didn’t stop until I got in the car and then I had a meltdown.”
Employee Jalon Jones, 24, also ran out of the store to safety after being shot in the back. Jones’ mother, Kimberly Shupe, spoke to CNN affiliate WTKR outside the hospital where her son is in intensive care on Wednesday.
Shupe said her son recounted to her how what began as a normal day at work quickly changed when he saw the team leader’s gun and a bullet graze Jones’ ear.
“That’s when he realized he had been shot,” Shupe said. Jones walked to the front of the store and when he got there, he was shot again, she said.
“That’s when he was assisted by another colleague who took him outside to his car until paramedics showed up,” Shupe said.
Briana Tyler is also new to the store. Shortly after 10 p.m., she clocked in to see Bing standing by the door.
Taylor told CNN: “Everybody’s waiting, you know, to figure out where they’re going tonight, and then all of a sudden you’re hearing ‘crack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack clack slapped slapped slapped slapped clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap
After he fired, Bean didn’t speak or point the gun at anyone in particular, Taylor recalled.
“He just looked blankly and he just looked around the room and he shot and somebody fell to the ground,” Taylor said.
That horrible sight has been seared in her mind ever since.
“The two images I can’t get away from are the image of him shooting and the smoke leaving,” Taylor said. “I watched the smoke come out of the barrel and my friend was bleeding from his neck.”
Taylor said the gunman continued to shoot throughout the store while everyone around her screamed. She also couldn’t believe what happened until she saw her injured friend on the ground and ran away.
“If I’m running, just run, don’t trip, don’t fall, just run,” she said. “And all I knew was that I had to take it home to my son and as soon as I was outside, I called my mum.”
Donya Prioleau told CNN she had heard “a lot of disturbing things” from Bing in the past and that she was in the lounge when the shooter entered.
“Before I started running, Ice walked in and shot three of her friends. Half of us didn’t believe it was real until some of us saw all the blood on the floor,” she said.
The city of Chesapeake said two victims and the shooter were found in the lounge, while another victim was found in front of the store. Three other people died in hospital, officials said.
City officials said at least six other people were taken to local hospitals for treatment, including one who remained in critical condition on Wednesday. Authorities are still working to determine if there were any other self-reported injuries.
Hear from Chesapeake Police on what we know about the Walmart shooting
Employee Kevin Harper had a near miss with the gunman.
“I just left the lounge,” Harper said in a video posted on Facebook.
“[The shooter]just came in and started capping people in there. Shot bro… As soon as I got out of the break room, he went in, man. By the grace of God, yo,” Harper said, admitting he Luckily no injuries or worse.
Harper said in the video, which appears to have been filmed in the store’s parking lot, that he thought it was nothing at first but quickly realized something was wrong and ran away.
“Then, I started hearing him getting closer, so … I booked it. I saw everybody running. I booked it, too,” he said. “I got up from there.”
As he recorded, a woman in the background could be heard telling him she had played dead during the attack. Others joined the discussion, sharing information about the victims.
“He killed the girl in it or something,” Harper said. “He came in and he started spraying and shitting. … I feel sorry for the victim.
The city said the gunman was armed with a pistol and multiple magazines. Police were working Wednesday to learn more about the suspect’s background and determine a possible motive.
Wilczewski said she wondered what else she could have done, how she could have changed Tuesday night’s outcome and wondered why the shooter let her go.
“It bothers me, it’s really bad. I don’t know why he did it,” she told CNN. “Because I could have sworn I was dead.”
She also sent a message to the families of the two female victims, although she did not name them.
“I want you to know that I could have run out of that door with other people who ran out of that door, but I stayed. I stayed so that they wouldn’t be alone in their last moments,” she said. “I stayed here so that they would not be alone.”