EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An attorney representing soccer parents Jessica and Guillermo “Memo” Garcia filed the first lawsuit against retail giant Waltmant on Tuesday, citing the store had a responsibility to protect its customers and they failed to do so when a gunman killed 22 people and wounded another 25.
The family is requesting a restraining order to halt all construction within the store in order to “preserve the scene and any evidence Walmart has collected since the shooting.”
The Garcia family was at the entrance of the Walmart selling snacks to raise funds for their daughter’s soccer team, EP
“This tragic event will be with us forever and our hearts go out to the families that were impacted,” Walmart said in a statement to KTSM. “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 a complaint, we will respond appropriately with the Court.”
Jessica Garcia was shot multiple times in her legs while trying to protect her two children. One month after the shooting, Memo Garcia remains hospitalized in critical condition after a bullet hit his spine.
The suit filed on behalf of the Garcia family by the Houston-based Ammons Law Firm claims Walmart had a responsibility to protect customers, which they failed to do. The suit alleges the Cielo Vista Walmart did not appear to have any armed guards for security, although a number of Walmarts in other areas of the country do.
“We are also requesting information about Walmart’s security practices, including how the El Paso store was rated on Walmart’s highly secretive risk-scoring and crime-database systems,” says family attorney Rob Ammons. “We also want to know whether El Paso Walmart managers altered store security policies in response to a hostage situation and shooting that took place in 2016 at a Walmart in Amarillo, Texas.”
In addition to the suit, the Garcias are requesting a temporary restraining order against Walmart in order to halt any demolition or construction within the store. The store was turned over to Walmart’s parent company on Aug. 21, after El Paso Police and federal agencies were done processing the scene.
As KTSM previously reported, Walmart planned to undergo major interior renovations, which include adding new flooring, fixtures, and merchandise. The store cited a three- to four-month turnaround on renovations before they would reopen.
According to the lawsuit, Walmart has already completely gutted the entire front area of the store since it was turned over to them by law enforcement two weeks ago.
The Ammons Law Firm is also representing a number of families involved Sutherland Springs church shooting.
Police said the suspected gunman, Patrick Crusius, 21, confessed to targeting Mexicans in the attack. They’ve also said that the suspected shooter is the likely author of an anti-Latino screed published online shortly before the shooting. It criticized race-mixing and called Hispanics “invaders.”