CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A Walmart employee who survived the deadly shooting last week at a store in Chesapeake has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company, alleging that store managers knew the shooter had a history of bullying other employees and making bizarre, threatening statements.
Police said Andre Bing, 31, killed six of his co-workers and injured several others before shooting himself. The victims have been identified as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, Tyneka Johnson and Fernando Chavez-Barron.
In a lawsuit obtained by WAVY-TV, an attorney for Donya Prioleau said that she was in the break room at the Chesapeake Walmart when Bing opened fire on the night of Nov. 22. Bullets whizzed past her, nearly hitting her, and she witnessed several of her co-workers being shot and killed, according to the lawsuit.
Prioleau’s attorney said she suffered injuries to her knee and elbow while trying to run away from the shooting. She also suffered from trauma and severe anxiety.
“Ms. Prioleau looked at one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck,” according to the complaint. “Ms. Prioleau saw the bullet wound in her coworker’s neck, the blood rushing out of it, and the shocked look on her coworker’s helpless face.”
Earlier, Prioleau told The New York Times that she “was directly in front of” the shooting.
“None of us deserved to witness that,” she told the newspaper through tears.
Prioleau began working as an overnight stocker and trainer for Walmart in May 2021. Bing, who began working for Walmart in 2010, managed the overnight stocking crew, including Prioleau, according to the lawsuit.
Prioleau’s attorney said Walmart managers “had received numerous reports that Mr. Bing was bullying, threatening, and harassing other employees” and “knew or should have known that Mr. Bing was acting inappropriately, bizarrely, and dangerously.” Two months before the shooting, Prioleau submitted a formal complaint to her employer, accusing Bing of making inappropriate comments and harassing her.
He “was known for being a mean and cruel supervisor” who would retaliate against co-workers “for the smallest perceived slight or inadequacy” and he also exhibited paranoid behavior, according to the complaint.
In a statement obtained by WTKR, attorneys John Morgan and Peter Anderson of Morgan & Morgan said that Priouleau and her co-workers “had been concerned for months that such an incident could occur at any time.”
“Our client alleges Walmart acknowledged her written complaint alleging harassment, but continued to employ the perpetrator,” the statement said. “As workplace shootings and violence become horrifyingly common, employers have a responsibility to understand the warning signs and take threats seriously in order to protect their employees and customers.”
The lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages.