A Walmart employee who survived the mass shooting at a Virginia store last week is suing the company for $50 million, accusing management of continuing the gunman’s employment despite knowing that he had a history of violent and “strange behavior.”
Donya Prioleau, one of the Walmart employees who were in the break room where the gunman opened fire last week, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, accusing the company of negligence for allowing the suspect to hold his management position despite receiving “numerous reports that [he] was bullying, threatening, and harassing other employees.”
Prioleau was hired as an overnight stocker and trainer in May 2021 and was responsible for stocking items after the store was scheduled to close on Nov. 22, according to the lawsuit. In her position, Prioleau was under the direction of the suspected gunman, Andre Bing, who was hired in 2010 as a team lead for the overnight crew.
Throughout his tenure, Bing was repeatedly accused of inappropriate and violent behavior by his colleagues, according to the lawsuit. Prioleau submitted a number of these complaints herself, she said.
“Upon information and belief, Mr. Bing had been disciplined on several occasions during his employment with Walmart. Prior to the mass shooting, Mr. Bing had been demoted by management for his improper and disturbing interactions with others, but then reinstated as team lead,” the lawsuit reads. “Mr. Bing demonstrated a pattern of disturbing behavior leading up to the shooting, which Walmart knew, or should have known.”
In the days and weeks leading up to the shooting, Bing continued to exhibit strange behavior, such as asking Prioleau if she liked guns or if he could “borrow her hair,” according to the lawsuit. These incidents, along with several others, were reported to management, according to the suit.
The lawsuit also provided previously unknown details about Bing’s character, noting he had a reputation as “a mean and cruel supervisor.” Additionally, Bing allegedly told supervisors ahead of the shooting that he would retaliate if he was ever fired and that “people will remember my name.”
Bing was also believed to have a “personal vendetta” against several Walmart employees, allegedly keeping a “kill list” of targets, according to the lawsuit.
However, the company failed to punish Bing “because he was liked by management,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Mr. Bing was previously disciplined for his bad behavior and harassing other employees, but Walmart kept employing him anyway,” Prioleau wrote in the lawsuit. “Mr. Bing was disciplined leading up to the shooting, making his violent outburst predictable. Despite Mr. Bing’s long-standing pattern of disturbing and threatening behavior, Walmart did not enact any preventative measures to keep Walmart customers and employees safe.”
The lawsuit, the first to be filed in response to the incident, claims Prioleau has experienced post-traumatic distress disorder as a result of the shooting. Prioleau detailed her experience from inside the break room, recalling how 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,” the lawsuit reads. “Ms. Prioleau ran out of the break room as fast as she could. In the process of escaping, Ms. Prioleau fell, injuring her knee and elbow.”
The lawsuit comes exactly one week after the shooting took place, during which Bing allegedly killed six people and injured another four. The suspected gunman then died from what law enforcement officers believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Prioleau is suing Walmart for $50 million in damages and is requesting a trial by jury. A spokesperson for Walmart has not responded to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.