Police and local authorities in Chesapeake, Virginia, have released a note obtained from the phone of a Walmart employee accused of killing six co-workers at a Walmart. a mass shooting earlier this week.
Tuesday’s attack, which occurred after a gunman opened fire on a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado over the weekend, bringing the total number of mass shootings in the United States this year to 610, according to the nonprofit group The Archives of Gun Violence.
During a forensic analysis, Chesapeake detectives obtained a document labeled “Death Note” from suspect Andre Bing’s phone in which the 31-year-old complained that his colleague had erased it. against and against him.
“I have been harassed by idiots of low intelligence and lack of wisdom,” Bing wrote, accusing his colleagues of laughing at him and giving him “an evil grin.” .
When a colleague tried to “get rid of” him, Bing said he “lashed out”. The note, released with redacted names on Friday, appeared to identify several employees Bing blamed for his troubles, as well as another person he wanted to “forgive.” “.
Bing wrote: “I promise everything will work out as if I were led by Satan. “God forgive me for what I am about to do.”
Chesapeake police also released the name of the sixth victim in the attack, 16-year-old Fernando Chavez-Barron.
He, along with Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, and Tyneka Johnson, were killed when Bing, the Walmart supervisor and overnight team leader, entered the break room and opened fire on his employees. , the authorities said.
The gunman, who had worked at Walmart since 2010, then turned the gun on himself. He died before the police arrived on the scene.
Six more people were injured in the attack that occurred at the retail store just after 10pm local time (03:00 GMT) on Tuesday, ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Chesapeake police on Friday also confirmed that Bing purchased the murder weapon – a 9mm pistol – the morning before the attack. Bing has no criminal record and can legally purchase the handgun from a local store.
After the shooting, US President Joe Biden on Thanksgiving Day addressed what he previously described as the “scourge” of gun violence.
“The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sickening. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. Not available. There’s not a single reason for it except profits for gun manufacturers,” Biden said Thursday.
This year is considered the third year in a row that the Gun Violence Archive has recorded at least 610 mass shootings in the US. The nonprofit organization defines a mass shooting as any act of gun violence in which four or more people are shot or killed, excluding a suspect.
Last year, the Gun Violence Archive counted 690 mass shootings, up from 610 in 2020.
The latest spate of attacks has sparked calls for tighter gun control, especially among Democrats.
On Sunday, the morning after a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub that left five people dead in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the White House released a statement denouncing the “pandemic of gun violence to public health,” promising reforms.
“Earlier this year, I signed a contract The most important gun safety law for nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions,” Biden said in the statement. “But we have to do more. We need an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off the streets of America.”
What constitutes an “offensive weapon” is debated, but it is generally defined as a semi-automatic rifle that can fire 30 rounds quickly without reloading. By contrast, most New York Police Department officers carry semi-automatic pistols that fire 15 rounds.
But enacting an assault weapons ban could be a heavy step for Democrats, who lost control of the US House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections.
In June, Biden signed into law Bipartisan Safer Communities Actwas hailed as “the first major piece of gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years”.
It provides $750 million in funding to states to implement “red flag laws” and other measures that would allow courts to remove firearms from individuals deemed to pose a danger to themselves and others. .
The law also prohibits individuals from having domestic violence convictions from buying firearms for five years, and mandated background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21.
House Democrats followed that up in July by passing Assault weapons ban in 2022, a bill that “intentionally importing, selling, manufacturing, transferring, or possessing a semi-automatic assault weapon is an offense.” It echoes a similar law enacted in 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Prohibition, which expired in 2004.
But while the bill passed the House, it stalled in the Senate, where 60 votes were needed to overcome any objections and bring the ban to a vote.
“I don’t want to try to define a whole bunch of guns as no longer being made available to the American public,” said South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican. “For us who grew up with guns as part of our culture and we use them as tools – there are millions of us, there are hundreds of millions of us – use them legally.”
Other Republican senators, like Rick Scott of Florida, were more supportive mental health advisory instead of an assault weapons ban.
“Everybody is doing the right thing. Why do we take away their weapons?” Scott spoke on the Senate floor last summer. “It’s pointless.”
A Pew Research Center study published in 2021 found that just over half of Americans – 53% – would support stricter measures on guns. But the national survey shows opinions split along partisan lines.
An estimated 73% of Democrats think tightening gun regulations will help reduce the rate of mass shootings, while a majority of Republicans – 65% – say it won’t. what effect.
However, even if the assault weapons ban is passed in the US Congress, it will likely face legal challenges.
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court had a conservative majority overturn a New York state law requires gun owners to demonstrate a “special need” to obtain a permit that allows them to carry a concealed weapon in public.