Editor’s note: John Furner, President and CEO – Walmart U.S., sent the following note to Walmart U.S. associates.
To: U.S.-based associates
From: John Furner, President and CEO – Walmart U.S.
The entire Walmart family continues to feel heartbreak over last week’s tragic event at Store #1841. As we shared, a Walmart associate opened fire last Tuesday night, in the store’s breakroom. Sadly, this resulted in the deaths of six amazing, irreplaceable members of our family.
Randy Blevins was a 29-year overnight stock associate who never missed a day of work. He leaves behind his best friend Teresa and three stepdaughters.
Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron was a front end associate and 11th grade honors student who’d recently started working with us to assist his family.
Lorenzo Gamble was a 15-year custodian whose greatest joys were football and spending time with his two sons.
Tyneka Johnson was an overnight associate who loved music, dancing and dreamed of attending college soon.
Brian Pendleton was a 10-year custodian who always arrived early to his shifts and loved to joke with his fellow associates.
Kellie Pyle was an overnight team associate. She leaves behind two children, a granddaughter and a fiancé she had recently moved to the region to marry.
Four other associates were injured that night. Two remain in the hospital and two have been released.
Nothing can replace these beautiful lives, or heal the scars their loved ones have now suffered. Hundreds of associates, leaders, and community members attended vigils in their honor the past two nights. As we grieve, we’re supporting these families with funeral, travel and other expenses. And we have a physical site set up where associates can meet, connect and speak to counselors. All Walmart associates and their families have access to confidential mental health support resources at no cost – including phone, chat-based or video support. You can see these resources at one.walmart.com/wellbeing.
The Walmart Foundation also intends to contribute $1 million to the United Way of South Hampton Roads’ Hope & Healing Fund, which will support those impacted by the shooting and the broader Chesapeake community. Walmart will provide a 2:1 match for associate donations to this fund as part of our Season of Giving Back campaign.
We understand this was a moment that can never be forgotten, particularly for the surviving associates of Store #1841. The store is closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. All associates will continue being paid regardless of planned schedules. We’ll work closely with the team to decide how and when we might remodel and reopen in a way that will help them move forward.
Thank you so much for supporting each other during this unthinkable time. Most of all, we extend our deepest condolences and support to those who lost a loved one last Tuesday. We’re so sorry, and we’re here for you.