A Walmart worker who was shot at during last week’s mass killing in a Virginia store filed a $50 million lawsuit, saying she wrote a formal complaint about the shooter’s “bizarre” behavior two months ago and nothing was done about it.
Donya Prioleau was in the break room at the Walmart Supercenter in Chesapeake when the gunman stormed in and started firing on Nov. 22. She ran from the room as bullets whizzed by her head, “barely missing her,” says a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court.
Six people were killed and several others were injured. The suspect, Andre Bing, a 31-year-old overnight team lead, died by suicide.
The lawsuit alleges that Walmart should have known that Bing “was violent and could harm others” after the store received numerous reports about him, including a formal complaint Prioleau wrote on Sept. 10.
In the complaint, she said Bing had “bizarrely and inappropriately commented” on her age by asking: “Isn’t your lady clock ticking? Shouldn’t you be having kids?” The lawsuit says she also complained to the store that he had allegedly “harassed her for being poor and being short.”
The same day Prioleau filed the complaint, her mother visited the store and asked a manager if anything could be done about Bing’s behavior and expressed concern for her daughter’s safety, the suit says. The document claims that the manager told Prioleau’s mother that nothing could be done because Bing “was liked by management.”
Walmart said in a statement that it was reviewing the lawsuit and “responding as appropriate with the court.”
“The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of the valued members of our team,” the company said Tuesday. “Our deepest sympathies go out to our associates and everyone impacted, including those who were injured. We are focused on supporting all our associates with significant resources, including counseling.”
The lawsuit details other incidents involving Bing, including one where he allegedly asked Prioleau if she liked guns. He also told colleagues and managers that he would retaliate if he were ever fired and repeatedly asked coworkers if they had received their active shooter training, according to the suit.
“When coworkers responded that they had, Mr. Bing just smiled and walked away without saying anything,” it says. “Upon information and belief, Mr. Bing had a personal vendetta against several Walmart employees and kept a ‘kill list’ of potential targets prior to the shooting.”
Bing was demoted for “improper and disturbing interactions” with his colleagues but was later reinstated as a team lead, according to the lawsuit, which did not provide further details.
Police have said that a “death note” was found on Bing’s phone that identified people he had issues and grievances with. In the note, he allegedly said he felt harassed, betrayed and laughed at.
City officials identified the victims as Lorenzo Gamble, 43; Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Randall Blevins, 70; and Tyneka Johnson, 22; and Fernando Chavez-Barron, 16.
The massacre was the deadliest store shooting since May when a white gunman shot 10 Black people dead in a racist shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, according to an NBC News tally.