Couple wounded in El Paso shooting sues Walmart for lack of security
iStock(EL PASO, Texas) — A Texas couple injured in the mass shooting last month at an El Paso Walmart has sued the superstore on grounds it failed to provide adequate security to prevent the attack.
El Paso residents Guillermo and Jessica Garcia were shopping with their two children on Aug. 3 when they were shot and “gravely injured,” according to the lawsuit, filed in El Paso district court on Friday. The lawsuit argues that the company should have had security at the store entrance and around common areas.
“If Walmart had taken its responsibilities to its customers seriously, it would have had a visible security presence that would have stopped the shooter from coming to Walmart and killing all those people,” the couple’s attorney, Patrick Luff, told ABC News.
Since the shooting, Walmart — among the country’s principal sellers of firearms and ammunition — has come under increased pressure to change its policy on gun sales. On Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a memo to employees that it will no longer tell certain types of rifle ammunition, and will “sell through” and discontinue handgun ammunition. In addition, the company has called for a renewed debate over the assault-weapons ban.
In response to the lawsuit, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargraves said in a statement to ABC News: “This tragic event will be with us forever and our hearts go out to the families that were impacted. Safety is a top priority and we care deeply about our associates and customers. We preserved what information we have, and we’ve worked meticulously with federal and local authorities as they documented everything that took place on August 3. Once we are served with the complaint, we will respond appropriately with the Court.”
The shooting began on a Saturday morning when the store was crowded with back-to-store shoppers. The fact that it was “particularly crowded” on the day of the shooting exacerbated the need for security, according to the lawsuit.
Jessica Garcia’s father, Don Coca, told the El Paso Times that he believes that had Walmart provided armed security on the premises, things “would have turned out different.”
Guillermo Garcia is still in critical condition after he was shot in the spine and required multiple surgeries, according to the Times. He will “probably never walk again,” Coca said.
The court documents do not include a request for monetary damages, but seek details on the company’s “active shooter” training program and whether any changes were made after a shooting occurred at a Walmart in Amarillo, Texas, on June 14, 2016.
The lawsuit also requests a restraining order to prevent Walmart from changing or altering the scene or destroying or altering any evidence. Walmart announced last month that it will reopen the store after the interior is rebuilt.
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