A Walmart employee who witnessed the shooting at the Chesapeake, Virginia, superstore last week and saw her colleagues shot and killed has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Walmart claiming that she and others had previously reported the shooter’s “bizarre and threatening” behavior.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday on behalf of Donya Prioleau in Chesapeake Circuit Court, claims that Walmart acknowledged the complaint but failed to take decisive action against Andre Bing, the shooting suspect who allegedly killed people and injured seven others before dying by suicide in the Walmart store on Nov. 22.
“[The gunman’s] behavior prior to the shooting put Walmart on notice that [he] was violent and could harm others,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit states that the gunman, who worked for Walmart since 2010, had a history of ‘bizarre’ behavior and said that management had received multiple reports about his bullying, threatening, and harassing of other employees. Prioleau claims that the gunman had been demoted by management due to his behavior, but was then reinstated as team lead on the overnight shifts.
Prioleau reportedly complained to Walmart that the shooter had harassed her for being poor and short, adding that he called her a “bitch” under his breath as she walked past. She said that the gunman randomly asked her one day if she liked guns and asked other employees if they had received their active shooter training. “When coworkers responded that they had, [the gunman] just smiled and walked away without saying anything,” the lawsuit says.
Prioleau claims that the suspect had told store employees, including managers, that if he was ever fired, he would retaliate and “people will remember my name.”
The most recent report of threatening behavior came in September, when Prioleau said she submitted a formal complaint via Walmart’s Global Ethics Statement Form indicating that the suspect had “bizarrely and inappropriately commented” on her age, stating: “Isn’t your lady clock ticking? Shouldn’t you be having kids?”
The same day that Prioleau filed the complaint, her mother visited the store to express concern for her daughter’s safety to management. She was told, according to the lawsuit, that there was no other action they could take because the gunman “was liked by management.” Prioleau has been a Walmart employee since May 2021 and is responsible for restocking items in the store overnight.
The claims made in the lawsuit match comments made by the gunman’s colleagues in the wake of the shooting, who described the shooting suspect as a paranoid loner who could be aggressive and hostile towards his co-workers.
Walmart said in a statement that it is reviewing the lawsuit and “responding as appropriate with the court.”
Prioleau, who was in the breakroom when the gunman walked in and began shooting, has said the shooting has left her severely traumatized and suffering from PTSD, sleeplessness, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and nightmares.
“Bullets whizzed by Plaintiff Donya Prioleau’s face and left side, barely missing her,” the lawsuit states. “She witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her. Ms. Prioleau looked at one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck. 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.”
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