CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — An employee who survived the mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake last week has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company.
The lawsuit, filed by Donya Prioleau, claims she submitted a complaint about the gunman two months prior to the shooting that took the lives of six Walmart employees. Police say the shooter also died, from a self-inflicted wound.
Prioleau had been working at the Walmart Supercenter near Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake for more than a year. She was working the night of the shooting and claims to have narrowly avoided being shot.
Law firm Morgan & Morgan filed the suit on Tuesday, one week after the deadly shooting. Attorneys John Morgan and Peter Anderson issued this statement:
“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.”
The lawsuit claims that Walmart acknowledged Prioleau’s complaint, however, the accused 31-year-old suspect remained employed as a shift leader at Walmart. The suspect was previously disciplined for his “cruel and inappropriate behavior,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is seeking $50 million in damages, listing the suspect’s alleged pattern of disturbing behavior leading up to the deadly mass shooting, including making bizarre, rude and inappropriate comments about Prioleau’s age, gender, socioeconomic status and appearance.
In the lawsuit, Prioleau details how she was in the breakroom when the shooting occurred and witnessed her colleagues being murdered while she was trying to escape.
In the complaint, Prioleau alleges she was severely traumatized by being shot at and witnessing the deaths of her coworkers, outlining a range of mental health consequences she’s suffered as a result of the attack, including sleeplessness, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and nightmares.
In addition, the complaint alleges that the suspect “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.”
This is breaking news and will be updated.
10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson will have the latest updates on the lawsuit starting at 4 p.m. on WAVY-TV 10.