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A group of black pastors is holding a vigil for the victims of the Walmart shooting


CHESAPEAKE, Va. — It’s been five days since Lorenzo Gamble was killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. His mother, Linda Gamble, couldn’t do anything, including eat, because she misses him so much.

“It was really hard because I never, never in a million years thought it would be my baby,” Gamble said. “He’s gone, but he’ll always be in my heart.”

Gamble spoke Sunday night before a prayer vigil at a Chesapeake Mountain church honoring her son and five other employees who police say were fatally shot by a store manager. Six others who were injured on Tuesday were also honored.

The 90-minute vigil — filled with music, raised hands and calls to God — was an effort by the Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors to provide some kind of salve for a community still scarred by violence.

By the end of the service, Gamble and her husband, Alonso, stood with dozens of others who had lost someone in the massacre, knew someone who had been injured or worked at the store.

Among them was Shelia Bell, 70, a Walmart employee who had worked with Lorenzo Gamble, a custodian at the store for 15 years. She said she also knew the shooter, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene.

“Honestly, I’m numb inside right now,” Bell said.

During the vigil, a tall purple candle was lit for each of the victims. They were Gamble, 43; Fernando “Jesus” Chavez-Barron, 16; Kelly Pyle, 52; Tineka Johnson, 22; Brian Pendleton, 38; and Randy Blevins, 70.

“We cannot know your pain of waiting to hear about your loved ones or even understand the horror of the phone call when it came,” state Sen. Mamie Locke said earlier. “But what we can do is come together as a community and be a shoulder to lean on.”

Congressman Bobby Scott said Chesapeake, a city of about 250,000 people near the Atlantic coast, “now joins the list of too many communities forced to bear the brunt.”

The city authorities have planned a candlelight vigil in the city park for Monday evening.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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