US: Walmart hires off-duty officers ahead of El Paso reopening - - PressFrom - US
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US Walmart hires off-duty officers ahead of El Paso reopening

07:31  14 november  2019
07:31  14 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Walmart plans to reopen the El Paso store where 22 people were killed in a shooting earlier this month, the retail giant said Thursday, but the entire interior of the building will first be rebuilt. The renovated store will include an on-site memorial honoring the victims of the shooting, many of whom.

When the El Paso Walmart where 22 people were killed reopens in three to four months, the renovated property will have a memorial to the shooting victims, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at its stores in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman police say targeted Mexicans opened fire in a store in August and killed 22 people.

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2019, file photo, Texas state police cars block access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at dozens of its stores across El Paso, where a gunman opened fire in August at one of the retail giant's locations and killed 22 people. The move comes as Walmart plans Thursday, Nov. 14, to reopen the store where the attack happened amid ongoing lawsuits over safety. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)© Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2019, file photo, Texas state police cars block access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at dozens of its stores across El Paso, where a gunman opened fire in August at one of the retail giant's locations and killed 22 people. The move comes as Walmart plans Thursday, Nov. 14, to reopen the store where the attack happened amid ongoing lawsuits over safety. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

Walmart plans Thursday to reopen the store where the attack happened and amid ongoing lawsuits over safety. Walmart didn’t have a guard in the store the day of the mass shooting.

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“They’ re amazing,” a teary-eyed Patricia Menchaca said of those staffing the center. Throughout the afternoon, dozens of local residents dropped off "Texas grieves for the people of El Paso today. On a day that would have been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping turned into one of the

The suspect in the El Paso Walmart shooting confessed to officers after surrendering, said police. El Paso police said Sunday evening that all the bodies from the crime scene, which now comprises the Walmart and the parking lot, had been removed and transferred to the medical examiner’s office.

The reopening will happen unceremoniously, Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said, and will follow a brief meeting with employees. She declined comment on security measures.

Police say Patrick Crusius drove more than 10 hours from his grandparents' house where he lived in a Dallas suburb to carry out the attack. Crusius, 21, has pleaded not guilty. More than 3,000 people from largely Latino El Paso and neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, were at Walmart when the attack happened.

“There was a time that Walmart hired off-duty officers and for some time prior (to) August 3rd that ceased,” said El Paso police spokesman Enrique Carrillo, in an email. He declined to provide more details.

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Mourners gathered Sunday outside the Walmart in El Paso where 22 people were fatally shot a day earlier.Credit Walmart says it has taken steps to improve security at its stores, like installing cameras in parking lots, known as “lot cops,” and hiring off - duty police officers on busy days like Black Friday.

El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the shooting could be a hate crime based on a “manifesto” authorities believe to be connected to the suspect. Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has cancelled all campaign events in Nevada and California and will immediately return to El Paso , his hometown.

When El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen first revealed the phasing out of officers in a city council meeting, council members discussed possibly mandating that off-duty officers be hired at large stores. The idea hadn’t been implemented.

Instead, Walmart quietly started hiring off-duty officers at their stores across the city, from Supercenters to “neighborhood markets,” the retail giants smaller grocery stores.

“We’re covering Walmarts, we’re also covering Sam’s (Club),” said El Paso police union president Ron Martin. “Even the neighborhood Walmarts are being covered. Some of them are being covered by sheriff’s deputies, some of them are being covered by our guys. I mean, I have seen some constables working it.”

Martin said it’s unclear how long Walmart will continue to staff every location.

Pay for the off-duty officers is about $50 per hour depending on their rank, or about double their hourly wage.

Walmart manager ready as store where El Paso mass shooting occurred reopens

  Walmart manager ready as store where El Paso mass shooting occurred reopens Robert Evans was on hand at the Cielo Vista Walmart store Thursday morning to raise the U.S. flag that's been at half-staff since the Aug. 3 mass shooting, when 22 people were killed and dozens injured. Raising the flag minutes before the store reopened will "symbolize that we are open and ready for business and ready to welcome and embrace our customers as they walk through the door," Evans said Wednesday afternoon as he sat inside the completely renovated store. © BRIANA SANCHEZ/EL PASO TIMES Walmart store manager Robert Evans Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Walmart in El Paso.

El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen says authorities are investigating a hate crime as among the possible motives. El Paso Walmart employee describes scene when the shooting began. Wal - Mart employee Leslie Diaz talks about the moments the shooting began at the store located near Cielo Vista Mall.

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Walmart declined to discuss the hiring of police officers, the costs, or if they are taking similar steps in other cities.

“We typically do not share our security measures publicly because it could make them less effective, but they may include hiring additional security, adding cameras in store and using ‘lot cops’ in the parking lot,” said Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia, referring to security cameras placed in parking lots. “We will continue our long-standing practice of regularly evaluating our staffing, training, procedures, and technology which are designed to provide a safe working and shopping experience.”

Garcia said in a statement that shoppers may notice additional security at the Walmart that is reopening “to help facilitate traffic flow and support other store needs.”

Some victims of the attack are now suing Walmart over the lack of security, arguing that its method for evaluating security boils down to an inadequate algorithm.

Many in El Paso still feel tense after the shooting.

On a recent Friday morning, brothers Robert and Jaime Serrano ate pizza in the food court of a Sam’s Club — Walmart’s membership-based store — adjacent to the shooting site.

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Vigils brought together a community in mourning Monday night as thousands gathered to remember those killed and wounded in a mass shooting at Walmart in El Paso , Texas.

Walmart also announced the hiring of Brynt Parmeter as the new senior director of military Walmart remains the largest U.S. company offering hiring preference to military spouses. Before entering the private sector, Parmeter served more than 20 years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, rising to

“It should reopen because you can’t let these people win,” said Robert Serrano. “We’re still here and we’re more cautious.”

Serrano says shoppers are more sensitive. He said a 16-year-old boy became frightened of him because he was wearing a shirt with an image of a grenade launcher, a weapon he used in his Army days.

“It was like a week after the Walmart shooting and he acted nervous. And he was covering his mom. He was protecting her. And I don’t want to put it (the grenade shirt) on anymore because of that.”

Construction workers have broken ground on a permanent memorial in the store’s parking lot, a “Grand Candela” that will be around 30 feet (9.14 meters) tall and could be finished in as little as three weeks.

The reopening of the El Paso store also comes as Walmart has dipped its toe in the gun debate.

It plans to post signage with its new policy discouraging customers from openly carrying guns. But it’s not banning them.

A month after the mass shooting in El Paso, Walmart announced it planned to phase out sales of certain kinds of ammunition in its stores.

The move will reduce its market share of ammunition from around 20% to less than 10%, according to Walmart. About half of its more than 4,750 U.S. stores sell firearms, but they account for only 2% of guns sold in the U.S. Most are sold through thousands of unaffiliated gun shops or gun shows, not big retail chains.

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AP writer Anne D’Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.

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