Virginia Walmart shooting victim files lawsuit, says she sent complaint about killer’s behavior before attack

She also claims the attacker asked employees if they received their active shooter training

A police vehicle drives past a makeshift memorial in the parking lot of a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, for the six people killed at the Walmart when a manager opened fire with a handgun before an employee meeting last week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Carolyn Kaster, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A woman who said she narrowly escaped the horrific shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake has filed a lawsuit.

Six people died in the shooting when a manager opened fire with a handgun right before an employee meeting last Wednesday. Five adults have been identified, while authorities have not released the name of the sixth person killed, a 16-year-old boy.

This combination of photos provided by the Chesapeake, Va., Police Department shows top row from left, Randy Blevins, Fernando Chavez-Barron, Lorenzo Gamble, and bottom row from left, Tyneka Johnson, Brian Pendleton and Kellie Pyle, who Chesapeake police identified as six victims of a shooting that occurred Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at a Walmart store in Chesapeake. (Chesapeake Police Department via AP)

Donya Prioleau worked at the store for more than a year and said that she filed a written complaint to Walmart about the killer’s behavior more than two months before the shooting. Prioleau claims that Walmart acknowledged the complaint but continued to employ the shooter as a shift leader after he was disciplined for cruel and inappropriate behavior.

According to a release from Morgan & Morgan, the firm representing Prioleau, she was in the breakroom when the shooter came in with a gun and shot several employees.

[Witness: Walmart shooter seemed to target certain people]

Prioleau said she was able to narrowly escape the breakroom, but saw several of her colleagues being brutally murdered as she fled to safety.

In the complaint filed, Prioleau said she was severely traumatized by being shot at and watching the murder of her coworkers. The complaint outlines how her mental health has been impacted by the attack, including sleeplessness, flashbacks, severe anxiety and nightmares.

The lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages and breaks down the shooter’s alleged pattern of disturbing behavior leading up to the attack, including several comments he allegedly made about Prioleau’s age, gender, socioeconomic status and appearance. The complaint further claims that the shooter repeatedly made veiled threats of violence, stating that people will “remember [his] name” if he was ever fired and ominously asking employees if they had received their active shooter training.

Below is a statement from Morgan & Morgan attorneys John Morgan and Peter Anderson:

“While the cruelty of murdering six defenseless people is truly unimaginable, Ms. Prioleau alleges that she and her coworkers had been concerned for months that such an incident could occur at any time. Our client alleges Walmart acknowledged her written complaint alleging harassment, but continued to employ the perpetrator. As workplace shootings and violence become horrifyingly common, employers have a responsibility to understand the warning signs and take threats seriously in order to protect their employees and customers. Our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones and for those, like Ms. Prioleau, whose lives will never be the same because of this trauma. We will work to hold Walmart accountable for failing to stop this tragedy.”

You can read the full complaint below:


About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.