New court documents filed on Friday in a lawsuit stemming from El Paso’s mass shooting tragedy accuse Walmart of failing to provide “necessary security” at their Cielo Vista store, making it an “inviting target” for criminals to commit violence.
“We have to make sure that Walmart takes notice of its own internal security practices,” said Patrick Luff, the attorney who filed the lawsuit. “Security practices that place profits over the security of their customers.”
As a result of Walmart’s alleged negligence, Luff told ABC-7 that his clients Memo and Jessica Garcia were injured the Aug. 3 shooting at the eastside store. Jessica has since been released from the hospital, but he said Memo Garcia remains in critical condition after 13 surgeries.
“I think it’s hard for those of us who weren’t there to fully put ourselves in the position of what it must be like to see a gunman coming toward you and know that you’ve got your children there,” Luff said.
According to the attorney, the Garcias were raising money for their daughter’s soccer team outside Walmart on the day of the shooting.
“Memo’s first instinct was to protect his family and his friends,” Luff said. “That’s how he ended up getting shot.”
The documents did not specify how much in damages the Garcia family is seeking from Walmart.
“This tragic event will be with us forever and our hearts go out to the families that were impacted,” wrote Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman. “Safety is a top priority and we care deeply about our associates and customers.”
This week’s lawsuit asked the judge to halt Walmart’s renovations, so Luff’s legal team can inspect and photograph the scene of the incident. A judge has yet to grant that request. Furthermore, according to the court documents, the front area of the store has been “completely gutted” and is “basically gone.”
“Our associates and community leaders have told us re-opening the store is important to healing from the tragedy and our work to rebuild the entire interior of the store is well underway,” Hargrove wrote. “We have proceeded thoughtfully and this includes preserving what information we have and working meticulously with federal and local authorities as they documented everything that took place. We appreciate the court’s careful consideration of this matter. ”