(CNN) — Although Jessie Wilczewski had only been working at the Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart for a few days, her Tuesday night shift started like everyone else, with a routine team meeting in the break room.
But moments after that meeting began, Wilczewski came face to face with his team leader, who held a gun to his forehead after he had shot his coworkers.
She managed to escape and return home to her 15-month-old son, but told CNN that night, and the sound of blood hitting the floor, keeps ringing in her head.
Six of his colleagues, including a teenager, were killed in the shooting after the shooter, whom Chesapeake city officials identified as 31-year-old Andre Bing, began shooting indiscriminately in the room where employees had gathered. for a meeting.
According to a statement from Walmart, Bing was a “team leader” for the store’s night shift and had been employed by the company since 2010. Police say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“It’s horrible because it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop playing when you leave the scene, it doesn’t stop hurting so much, it doesn’t stop,” Wilczewski told CNN’s Erica Hill on Wednesday night after recounting the horrific experience.
Five of the victims murdered they were identified by city officials as Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins and Tyneka Johnson. The sixth victim who died was a 16-year-old boy whose name authorities have not released because he was a minor, the city said. All were Walmart employees, a company spokesperson told CNN.
The employees had just checked in for their shift when gunshots erupted.
Wilczewski told CNN that he noticed the attacker shortly after 10 p.m. He was listening to another team leader speak before turning his head toward the door and seeing Bing standing with a gun pointed at the crowd, an image that says he at first it was not registered as real.
But then he began to feel his chest vibrate and his ears ring as a volley of gunfire erupted, he said. Wilczewski jumped under a table as the shooter walked away down a nearby hallway.
“I didn’t want to make noise, I didn’t want him to hear me and make him angry and force him to come back,” Wilczewski told CNN.
Around him, some coworkers were on the floor, while others were lying on chairs, all still. He said he knew many were probably not alive, but Wilczewski stayed because he didn’t want to leave them alone.
“The sound of the drops (hitting the ground),” he said, “repeats, and repeats, and repeats, and repeats.”
When he returned, Wilczewski said the shooter told him to get out from under the table. She complied, pulling her bag out first to indicate that she didn’t have a weapon and raising her arms.
“I slid under the table and I was shaking,” he said. “I had the gun to my forehead.”
And then he told her to go home, putting the gun away and pointing it at the ceiling.
“I got up really slow and tried not to look at everyone on the floor…and I had to knock on the door that was covered (in blood) and I went out the double doors to where you can see the Walmart aisles and…I just remember grabbing my bag and thinking, ‘If he’s going to shoot me in the back, he’s going to have to try really hard because I’m running away,’ and I ran,” she said. “I ran and didn’t stop until I got to my car and then I had a collapse.”
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 WTKRWednesday outside the hospital where her son was in the ICU.
Shupe said his son told him that what started out as a normal day at work quickly turned around when he saw the team leader’s gun and a bullet grazed Jones’ ear.
“That’s when he realized he was being shot at,” Shupe said. Jones got to the front of the store, and when he got there, he was shot again, he said.
“That’s when he got help from another co-worker who took him outside to his vehicle until medics showed up,” Shupe said.
“I had to get home for my son”
Briana Tyler was also a new hire at the store. She had arrived at work just after 10 pm when she saw Bing standing in the doorway.
“Everyone was waiting, you know, to find out where they were going to spend the night and then all of a sudden you just hear ‘pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa,'” Tyler told CNN.
After he started shooting, Bing didn’t speak or point the gun at anyone in particular, Tyler recalled.
“He just had a blank look on his face and he literally just looked around the room and just shot and there were people falling to the ground,” Tyler said.
It was a horrific sight that has been seared in his mind ever since.
“The two visions I can’t get out of my head are the vision of him firing the gun and the smoke coming out,” Tyler said. “I’m seeing smoke coming out of the barrel of the gun and my friend bleeding from her neck.”
The gunman continued shooting throughout the store, Tyler said, as everyone around him yelled. She couldn’t believe what was happening either, until she saw injured friends on the ground and ran away.
“While running, it was just running, not tripping, not falling, just running,” he said. “And I knew I had to get home for my son and as soon as I got out, I called my mom.”
Donya Prioleau, who told CNN she had heard Bing say “a lot of disturbing things” in the past, was also in the break room when the gunman walked in.
Bing walked in and shot three of his friends “before I ran off. Half of us didn’t believe it was real until some of us saw all the blood on the floor,” he said.
Two murder victims and the shooter were found in the break room, while another was found in front of the store, the city of Chesapeake said. Three others died at the hospital, authorities said.
At least six more people were transported to local hospitals for treatment, one of whom remained in critical condition on Wednesday, city officials said. Authorities were also working to determine if there were any additional injuries that were self-reported.
A woman played dead to survive
Employee Kevin Harper narrowly missed an encounter with the attacker.
“I just left the break room outside,” Harper says in a video posted to Facebook.
“(The attacker) just went in there, started covering people up there. He started shooting, brother. …As soon as I walked out of the break room, he walked in there, man. By the grace of God,” Harper says, acknowledging his fortune not to get hurt or worse.
Harper thought it was nothing at first, but she soon realized something was wrong and fled, she says in the video, which appears to have been filmed in the store’s parking lot.
“Then, I started to hear it getting closer so… I ran it. I saw everyone run. I ran it too,” he said. “I got up from there.”
As he records, a woman is heard in the background telling him that she played dead during the attack. Others join the discussion, sharing information about those killed.
“He killed the girl there and everything,” says Harper. “He went in there and started shooting and M****. … I feel sorry for the victims.”
The city said the shooter was armed with a handgun and various ammunition. Police were working Wednesday to find out more about the suspect’s background and identify a possible motive.
Wilczewski said she thinks about how else she could have helped, how Tuesday night’s outcome might have changed, and wonders why the shooter let her go.
“It bothers me very, very much. I don’t know why she did what she did,” she told CNN. “Because he could have sworn he was lost.”
He also shared a message for the families of the two victims, although he did not name them.
“I want you to know that I could have run out that door with everyone else who ran out that door, but I stayed. I stayed so they wouldn’t be alone in their last moments,” she said. “I stayed, just so they wouldn’t be alone.”
— CNN’s Caroll Alvarado, Curt Devine, Amanda Jackson, David Williams and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.