Complaints made about Chesapeake shooter's behavior

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The state of Virginia is kind of in a state of flux. They went from becoming very pro-gun to becoming rather anti-gun. Right now, the laws on the book make it a fairly restrictive state with things like red flag laws and gun rationing on the books.


That didn’t stop the Chesapeake Walmart shooting from happening.

Granted, even if red flag laws worked perfectly, they can’t do anything unless someone’s behavior serves as some kind of warning.

Unfortunately for proponents of such measures, the killer’s apparently did.

A victim of the mass shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, filed a lawsuit against the company on Tuesday. The suit accused Walmart of being negligent by hiring and continuing to employ the suspected shooter despite its knowledge of his alleged disturbing interactions with staff and a written complaint the victim submitted to the company about the suspect’s behavior more than two months before the shooting.

The victim alleged Walmart knew or should have known about the gunman’s “violent propensities,” according to the suit. The suit also accuses Walmart of failing to “enact any preventative measures to keep Walmart customers and employees safe.”

Now, it’s easy to make such a claim. People often see things clearly in the aftermath that they didn’t before.


But in this case, the employee might have a point.

Prioleau claims in the suit [the killer] had made disturbing comments to other employees leading up to the shooting, in one instance allegedly asking Prioleau if she liked guns.

The suit alleged [he] had asked coworkers if they had received active shooter training. It also alleged [the killer] had a “personal vendetta against several Walmart employees and kept a ‘kill list’ of potential targets prior to the shooting,” citing evidence gathered by law enforcement.

Before the shooting, the gunman had allegedly told store employees, including managers, that if he were ever fired, he would retaliate and “people will remember my name,” according to the lawsuit.

Not great behavior, to be sure.

So why didn’t anyone seek a red flag order under those circumstances? I mean, they couldn’t petition directly to get one, but it’s hard to believe that law enforcement wouldn’t look at these threats as serious, right?

Except, again, this is hindsight. We know this behavior was indicative of something sinister now whereas we didn’t know that three weeks ago.


If anything, though, this becomes more of an indictment on the whole red flag law issue.

Remember, such laws were supposed to prevent things like what happened in Chesapeake. They were supposed to take guns away from mass shooters like that, only it clearly didn’t–neither here nor in Colorado Springs, where there’s also a red flag law in place.

Chesapeake happened in spite of the measures Democrats put in place that were supposed to prevent it, and that wasn’t even the first high-profile shooting in the state in November. The red flag law also did nothing to prevent the University of Virginia shooting, either.

Meanwhile, red flags laws have taken a lot of guns from people who did nothing wrong and would have done nothing wrong.


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