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El Paso Shooting Victims’ Lawsuit Tests Security Responsibility Of Retail Landlords

A family of four besieged by gunfire at a Walmart SuperCenter in El Paso on August 3 is at the center of a lawsuit filed against Walmart Inc., Walmart Stores Texas LLC and the shooter, Patrick Wood Crusius. In the suit, shooting victims Jessica and Guillermo Garcia, who remains in critical condition after 13 surgeries, challenge a long-standing belief that retailers and shopping center owners aren’t responsible for violent acts on their premises. Their suit alleges Walmart had no active security on-site during the mass killing, and contends that this lack was negligent. The Garcias’ case against Walmart could serve as a bellwether for security in retail and test the high burden of proof plaintiffs usually face when trying to make a landlord, property manager or business owner liable for violence on their property.

While Walmart did not answer BisNow’s inquiry as to whether it had security on site at the El Paso shooting location, news media reports and the Garcia lawsuit say no discernible security was on the premises when the gunman entered the front door and launched his attack. El Paso Police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told BisNow Walmart previously had off-duty officers at El Paso Walmarts, but it stopped that practice sometime prior to the August shooting spree. Since the incident, the retailer is now using the services of off-duty El Paso police again, Carrillo said. Walmart spokesperson… BisNow

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