The Tuesday night shooting — two days before Thanksgiving — began minutes after 10 p.m. in the employee break room, where some workers were preparing to start their night shift.
In addition to the six employees who did not survive, others continue to receive medical treatment. Two victims at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital were in critical condition on Thanksgiving Day, hospital spokesman Mike Kafka told CNN, and another victim was released on Wednesday.
“Today our focus is only on those injured in Tuesday’s tragic event, but the police investigation continues,” officials said, adding that additional information would be provided on Friday.
Those killed are Randy Blevins, 70, Lorenzo Gamble, 43, Tyneka Johnson, 22, Brian Pendleton, 38, Kellie Pyle, 52 and a 16-year-old boy, who is not named because he is a minor, according to authorities. .
As police work to determine the motive for one of three mass shootings in Virginia this month, Chesapeake officials announced a vigil for victims scheduled for Monday night in City Park.
“Chesapeake is a tight-knit community and we are all shaken,” Mayor Rick West said in a post online earlier this week. “Together we will support each other through this time.”
Survivors describe the shooting
The shooting in Chesapeake this week erupted suddenly, with witnesses saying they were shocked and in disbelief when they saw the shooter pointing a gun at them.
Walmart employee Kevin Harper said the shooter walked into the break room and immediately began shooting.
“He walked in there and just started spraying,” Harper said in a social media video.
Two slain victims and the shooter were found in the rest room, another victim was found outside the store and three others died in hospital, Chesapeake City officials said.
Newly hired Jessie Wilczewski told CNN she was in a regular meeting when filming began.
At first it “didn’t register as real,” she said, until the sound of gunfire echoed through her chest.
Wilczewski hid under a table as the shooter walked down a nearby hallway. She could see some of her coworkers on the floor or lying in chairs — all motionless and some likely dead, she said. She stayed because she didn’t want to leave them alone.
“I could have run out that door…and I stayed. I stayed so they wouldn’t be alone in their final moments,” Wilczewski said in a message to the families of the two victims.
When the shooter returned to the break room, Wilczewski said, he told her to get out from under the table and go home.
“I had to touch the door which was covered (in blood),” she said. “I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back – well, he’s going to have to try really hard because I’m running’, and I I booked. …and I didn’t. I didn’t stop until I got to my car and then I had a seizure.”
Briana Tyler, also a newly hired employee, said she saw bullets flying inches from her face.
“All of a sudden you just hear pa pa pa pa pa pa pa,” Tyler said. “There were people falling to the ground,” she said. “Everyone was screaming, gasping, and yeah, he just walked away after that and continued into the store and kept shooting.
A holiday marked by emptiness for the families of victims of gun violence
A gunman opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May, killing 19 fourth-grade students and their two teachers before authorities shot him dead.
“6 months since our world was shattered, and I’m supposed to ‘celebrate the holidays,'” Cross wrote in a social media post on Thanksgiving Day. “How do you celebrate when you’re devastated. How do you give thanks, when you have nothing left to give. How do you pretend and smile when you wake up crying.”
“My life had been plunged into sadness and turmoil. I felt like I was at the bottom of a gigantic hole that I could never get out of. I didn’t know how to help myself, let alone those that I loved,” Hockley wrote. online in a Thanksgiving message.
“But in the weeks and months that followed, and with the support of those around me, I found a renewed sense of purpose. To prevent other children and families from suffering the same fate.”
CNN’s Josh Campbell, Michelle Watson and Andi Babineau contributed to this report.