CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY)- A memorial continues to grow outside of the Walmart store where six people were killed late Tuesday night.
The community is mourning the loss of Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Lorenzo Gamble, Randy Blevins, Tyneka Johnson, and a 16-year-old boy who police haven’t identified because of his age.
For many visitors to the memorial, it’s a surreal scene as the store is taped off and occupied by dozens of members of law enforcement. Police say the investigation will likely take days.
Kimberley and Justin Bush stopped by the memorial to deliver flowers and say a prayer for the victims.
“It was important for us to come out and remember,” Kimberly said. “It was important to remember the lives lost and everybody that was affected by the tragedy. It’s heartbreaking to think about all the employees who have to come back and realize what happened here. All the ones that are in the hospital, more families, it is very tragic.”
Her 20-year-old son Justin said he’s been coming to the Walmart since he was a baby.
“You don’t think something like this can happen, but it ends up happening and it shocks you to your very core. I pray that nothing like this ever happens again,” Justin said.
He said he won’t let fear keep him from coming back.
“For the victims, they’d want us to go on about our daily lives as usual. I think that is the best way to pay tribute to them and as far as I am concerned, the only way to pay tribute right now,” he said.
Dr. Rebecca Cowan, a Virginia Beach-based counselor, also paid her respects at the memorial. Cowan said she’s responded to numerous mass shootings, including the 2019 mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Cowan said that in the wake of tragedy, it’s important to engage in collective healing.
“Spending time together, reaching out to each other, especially if you feel like someone might be struggling and you haven’t heard from a person in some time,” she said.
She also said that it’s important to not give the shooter notoriety across social media.
“When you have someone who’s seeking notoriety you’re essentially giving into that desire when you publish their names on social media platforms,” Cowan said, adding that notoriety might not have been a motive for the shooter on Tuesday.
“Just making sure your connection with each other, taking care of yourself, trying to stick as closely to your routine as possible,” she said. “It’s really nice to have other people checking in on each other.”