Brian Pendleton, one of six people killed in the shooting, turned 39 next week, his mother said emotionally in a phone interview Wednesday.
“He had a really big heart,” said his mother, Michelle Johnson. “Anyone who wants to laugh, or just wants company, he’ll buy you lunch. He’ll buy you anything in a minute.”
Pendleton, who has worked at Walmart for nearly 11 years as a custodian, “loves what he does,” she said.
“He was just a hard worker and a good kid,” she said.
When a family friend called to tell her about the shooting at his Walmart, Johnson’s husband went to where he was told about the family reunion. He was told Brian had been transferred to Norfolk General Hospital, so Johnson and her husband drove there, she said.
“We waited, and then the police came out with a nurse, and they took us into a side room, and that’s when they told us he didn’t survive,” Johnson said, choked up.
“That’s when they said he didn’t make it,” Johnson said, sobbing. “I was just thinking, was he scared? I know my son, I don’t want him to be scared, I don’t want him to get hurt.”
Pendleton was born with hydrocephalus. She said Johnson had it too, but they were both “lucky” that nothing serious happened.
“We are fighters and we trust in the Lord,” she said.
It’s Pendleton’s favorite time of year, with Thanksgiving and his birthday on December 12. 2. Johnson said.
“I don’t understand why, what happened, what happened,” she said.
“I’ll never be near that Walmart again,” she added.
-Sasha Pezenik, ABC News