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Virginia city honors the 6 victims of last week's Walmart shooting

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Late last Tuesday, six people went to work at Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., and never came home. As NPR's Sarah McCammon reports, last night, residents of the city gathered to remember them.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: At the vigil hosted by the city of Chesapeake in a local city park, six crosses lined the stage in honor of the victims. They died after an overnight supervisor at Walmart opened fire, then turned the gun on himself.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Singing) Tis grace that brought me safe thus far.

MCCAMMON: Flanked by more than a dozen police officers providing security on either side of the stage, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin quoted passages from the Bible and offered prayers for the victims.

GLENN YOUNGKIN: And we pray that Lorenzo, Fernando, Randall, Kellie, Brian and Tyneka will be blessed in paradise.

MCCAMMON: Youngkin made no mention of gun violence, though he alluded to another mass shooting in Virginia earlier this month. Also on stage was Bobby Dyer, mayor of nearby Virginia Beach, which experienced its own mass shooting in 2019. Chesapeake City Councilman Don Casey (ph) read the victims' names. The youngest was 16-year-old Fernando Chavez-Barron, who, Casey said, was working to lessen the burden on his family. The oldest was Randy Blevins, age 70.

DON CAREY: He was a wonderful family man. His favorite holiday was Thanksgiving because he would have the day off from work and could spend time with his family.

MCCAMMON: But not this year. Blevins, Chavez-Barron and their coworkers were taken from their families just two days before Thanksgiving, leaving empty seats at many tables this year and for years to come.

Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Chesapeake. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.