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Second Chesapeake Walmart employee sues, alleges company should have known about shooter

police tape stretches across the Chesapeake Walmart parking lot
The Chesapeake Walmart where six people were killed and six people were injured is still closed. (File photo: Laura Philion/WHRO)

A second Walmart employee is suing the company over the recent mass shooting at one of its Chesapeake stores.

James Kelly, an overnight employee, said in the lawsuit that Walmart knew or should have known that the shooter was a danger to others. It’s the second lawsuit from an employee making similar claims about the shooter and Walmart’s response.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the shooter opened fire in the break room of the Walmart on Sam’s Circle in Greenbrier. Six were killed, and six more were injured. The shooter killed himself before police arrived.

Kelly’s lawsuit claims the shooter’s “violent outburst [was] predictable” and the company could have taken steps to prevent the shooting. He is asking for $50 million in compensation. He claims to have post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing the shooting, as well as injuries sustained while fleeing.

Walmart employee Donya Prioleau also alleges the shooter exhibited bizarre, inappropriate and threatening behavior that Walmart should have been aware of. Her suit also seeks $50 million in damages.

Both employees filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court and are being represented by the same law firm, Washington, D.C.-based Morgan and Morgan.

Walmart has not yet responded to either lawsuit, according to court filings.

Kelly worked on the team supervised by the shooter, who was known as a “mean and cruel supervisor,” according to the lawsuit. It says staff knew to watch out for the shooter. He would retaliate against fellow employees for “the smallest perceived slight or inadequacy.”

Kelly claims he and other employees notified managers of “bizarre and inappropriate comments.” That includes an instance when the shooter told Kelly, “I don’t care how big you are. I have something to take care of that.”

The lawsuit says the shooter had been previously disciplined, including being demoted and later reinstated as a team leader ahead of the shooting.

Read the original story on WHRO's website.

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