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'Chesapeake Strong' | Hampton Roads community keeps Walmart victims in mind this Thanksgiving

As many gather with family this Thanksgiving, some dinner tables will have empty seats after a gunman opened fire at a Chesapeake Walmart.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — As many people gather with family this Thanksgiving, some dinner tables will have empty seats.

Sheloni Collins spent part of his holiday leaving flowers at a memorial for the six lives lost during the Walmart shooting on Sam’s Circle in Chesapeake.

“My oldest son went to school with Mr. Brian Pendleton, middle school and high school,” Collins said. “He is up in Richmond, and he couldn’t make it down.”

Chesapeake Police said a gunman killed Tyneka Johnson, Brian Pendleton, Randy Blevins, Kellie Pyle, Lorenzo Gamble, and Fernando Chavez-Barron.

Across social media, people are posting the words "Chesapeake Strong." Madalyn Schilling is using that phrase to help the victims’ families.

“Unfortunately, the incident in Virginia Beach a few years ago kind of stuck in my head as soon as I heard about it,” Schilling said. “I was thinking Virginia Beach Strong, you know we are Chesapeake Strong too.”

She created a Chesapeake Strong T-shirt through her online clothing shop, Schilling & Co Boutique.

“I thought maybe putting a heart right where Chesapeake is on a shirt that has Virginia on it would be a great idea,” Schilling said. “So people would know, along with that hashtag, exactly where we are.”

Schilling said she is donating the profits to help the victims and families impacted by this tragedy.

“One hundred percent of whatever income I make, I am just going to go ahead and give to the families,” Schilling said. “It is really just to help them in any way I can. Times are tough right now. I couldn’t imagine what they are dealing with.”

A pile of flowers, balloons and mementos is growing at the memorial. Collins said he won’t forget the victims.

“There are angels watching all of us and they are taking notes,” Collins said. “I was raised that there is no such thing as death, because I am native, only a change in worlds.”

If you are interested in buying one of the Chesapeake Strong shirts, click here.

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