A Walmart worker who survived last week’s mass shooting at a Virginia store is suing the retail giant for $50 million, saying that she and others had complained about her former co-worker’s behavior prior to him carrying out the attack and that the store’s management failed to keep its employees safe.
Donya Prioleau, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court, says the gunman, who worked as a store supervisor, kept a “kill list” of potential shooting targets. He also threatened retaliation if ever fired, saying “people will remember my name,” and expressed paranoia about being watched by the government, her suit states.
The Nov. 22 attack in Chesapeake left six people dead, not including the gunman, who was identified by police as Andre Bing.
“Many Walmart employees and managers, including Ms. Prioleau, had observed Mr. Bing exhibit bizarre and threatening behavior leading up to the shooting,” her lawsuit states, adding that Walmart had been warned that Bing “was violent and could harm others.”
Prioleau submitted a complaint about Bing via a Walmart Global Ethics statement form in September. It accused him of harassing her and making inappropriate comments, including about her age, height and socioeconomic status, according to the lawsuit.
On the same day that her ethics complaint was filed, Prioleau’s mother also spoke with a store manager to express concerns about her daughter’s safety in relation to Bing. Her mother was told that “nothing … could be done about Mr. Bing because he was liked by management,” according to the lawsuit.
“Walmart and its managers were aware of Mr. Bing’s behavior and threats, but kept employing him anyway,” her suit alleges.
A Walmart representative, in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday, said the company is reviewing the suit and will respond as appropriate with the court.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to our associates and everyone impacted, including those who were injured. We are focused on supporting all our associates with significant resources, including counseling,” the statement reads in part.
In addition to physical injuries sustained while attempting to flee the violence, Prioleau states that she continues to experience severe anxiety, nightmares, sleeplessness, flashbacks, stomach pain and a loss of appetite.
“Bullets whizzed by … [Prioleau’s] face and left side, barely missing her. She witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her,” her suit states.
“As workplace shootings and violence become horrifyingly common, employers have a responsibility to understand the warning signs and take threats seriously in order to protect their employees and customers,” her attorneys, John Morgan and Peter Anderson of Morgan & Morgan, said in a statement.
“Our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones and for those, like Ms. Prioleau, whose lives will never be the same because of this trauma. We will work to hold Walmart accountable for failing to stop this tragedy.”