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Former employee of Virginia Walmart files $20 million lawsuit against retailer

Mike Caudill/for The Washington Post via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Sarah Merlo, a former employee of the Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart, filed a new $20 million lawsuit against the retailer and the estate of shooter Andre Bing for injuries she suffered after the November 2022 mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, that left six dead.

Merlo alleges that years prior to the November 2022 mass shooting, Walmart had been aware of numerous complaints about Bing’s “erratic, disturbing, violent and harassing behavior,” including a complaint Merlo made directly to the company. The lawyers allege that Bing was “acutely paranoid and delusional, believing that he was the victim of conspiracies and unspecified efforts to hack his phone, and was suffering from religious ideations.”

Six people were killed and four others were injured before the suspect — wielding a pistol — shot himself dead, according to the Chesapeake Police Department.

Her lawyers said in the court filing Bing directed “disturbing and harassing behavior towards Sarah due to his personal animus towards her.” They also allege Bing disclosed to Merlo that he liked to kill animals and described how the dead animal carcasses smelled. Merlo’s lawyers also claim that Bing made “veiled threats of active shooter situations to other employees.”

According to Merlo’s account, Bing’s “threatening nature and concerning conduct” had been known to Walmart for more than two years before the November 2022 shooting. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart conducted an investigation but “did nothing at the time and then failed to monitor or respond to additional evidence of Bing’s instability and violent tendencies.”

The alleged shooter chose when to pull the trigger; however, the lawsuit claims that the attack was “fueled by his long-standing paranoia and delusions.”

Merlo also alleges that Bing told another employee to leave before he shot. He later pointed the gun at her as she hid behind a table on her hands and knees. He smiled as he shot her in the face and later six more times, including once in the neck, twice in her upper chest, once in the right elbow and twice in her stomach.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Merlo’s lawyers claim that she has had to “undergo multiple surgeries and faces a lifetime of medical care from these physical injuries and emotional distress.”

ABC News has reached out to Walmart for comment. A rep for Bing’s estate couldn’t immediately be located. The courts have no record of response filings to Merlo’s suit.

Following the shooting in 2022, Walmart said in a statement: “We are shocked at this tragic event.”

“We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates,” the Walmart spokesperson’s statement concluded.

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