Couple Wounded in El Paso Mass Shooting Sues Walmart

FILE PHOTO: Air Force One flies past the Walmart sign, where a mass shooting occurred four days ago, in El Paso, Texas, U.S. August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

A couple wounded in the Aug. 3 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, has sued the retailer, claiming the store lacked proper security, in what their lawyers called the first lawsuit over the attack.

Guillermo and Jessica Garcia believe Walmart’s failure to employ armed security guards at the store, despite using them in other stores, was a factor in the massacre, where 22 people were killed, their lawyers said on Wednesday.

The Garcias said they were shopping with their two children when the gunman, identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, opened fire.

Guillermo Garcia remains hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the spine, while Jessica Garcia was hospitalized and later released after being shot in the legs, their lawyers said.

“Jessica Garcia and Guillermo Garcia’s injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence, gross negligence, and premises liability” of Walmart, the complaint said.

The Garcias are seeking a restraining order requiring Walmart, which has begun renovating the store, to preserve evidence from the shooting.

They also want to question the world’s largest retailer about its security practices following a June 2016 hostage taking by an armed employee at a Walmart in Amarillo, Texas.

The lawsuit does not say whether the Garcias are seeking monetary damages.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said “safety was a top priority” for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, which will respond to the complaint filed on Aug. 30 in the El Paso County District Court.

“This tragic event will be with us forever and our hearts go out to the families that were impacted,” Hargrove said in a statement. “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.”

Most of those killed in the shooting were Hispanic.

Crusius, who is white, told police while surrendering that he had been targeting Mexicans, according to an El Paso police affidavit released on Aug. 9.

On Tuesday, Walmart said it would stop selling ammunition that could be used in assault-style rifles, and would discourage shoppers from openly carrying guns in its stores. It also called for stronger background checks for gun buyers.

The National Rifle Association, which supports gun rights, accused Walmart of succumbing to pressure from “anti-gun elites.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


  1. Phoenix,

    ““They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”–Ben Franklin

    I’m fortunate to live in a place where shopping without armed guards present is possible. q.v. Israel or certain high-crime areas of Portland.

    Just having armed-security assures nothing. Look at the cowardly doughboy who allegedly guarded Parkland HS. The average rent-a-cop at any store/mall is even less reassuring, armed or not.

    Ultimately one must take responsibility for one’s own safety. That includes situational awareness and knowing more than one way out.

  2. Wal-Mart is not smart, but being far from Small-Mart they can do whatever they want to and still defend themselves from pesky lawsuits unlike many other stores can afford to do. If this frivolous lawsuit was introduced in ‘my’ court, the plaintiffs and their attorney couldn’t leave the premises fast enough.

    1. Otis,

      If Walmart’s attorneys are smart, they’ll countersue for costs and damages. This would discourage future frivolous suits.

      …or as a genius PR stroke Walmart could then announce their victory AND say they are forgiving the damages as the family has suffered enough.

  3. >Screwtape<

    I hope to lawsuit against Walmart is dismissed. Not every business can afford armed security guards patrolling the property. It's up to the individual citizen to protect him/herself since even the police are under no obligation to protect us; but, only draw a chalk line around the corpse. Get a concealed weapons license and a weapon you're comfortable and familiar with to protect yourself and your family. Then join the NRA for the latest information about how the Commies want to destroy the US and our freedoms.

    1. James,

      Walmart has not survived by bowing to lawsuits and protests. It makes smart, cynical business decisions.

      It only sells handguns in AK. No big deal if it loses those sales.

      Walmart’s ammo sales are relatively miniscule (except.22). Again no big loss.

      Notice how Walmart has banned open-carry, but said zip about concealed-carry.

      I absolutely agree. Personal defense is one’s own responsibility first and foremost.

  4. The lack of any security at (any and all) Walmart stores is why those persons with concealed weapons licenses SHOULD carry their weapons. In today’s growing Socialist “society”, one never knows when one of the unhinged members of the Socialist Party will decide to become a television star for 15 minutes. NEVER leave home without some protection!!

    1. Frankly, given the caliber (pun intended) of the average store personnel I’m not counting on them for anything, but I conceal-carry anyway.

  5. “I’d prefer not to deal with stadium style security when I’m trying to quickly run to the store for bread.” Phoenix

    When the Americans who are bold enough to leave our homeland and travel to foreign countries see soldiers and militia walking around with automatic weapons or guarding storefronts, such as in Israel, they get taken aback, a bit.

    I had firsthand experience with this in places like Panama. A few years ago, one of the terrorist attacks in India, I believe, was on a restaurant that had an armed guard seated near the enterance (didn’t stop many being killed).

    I am confused. Here, in America, we have CIVILIANS armed to the teeth walking among us.

  6. Nothing says “deep pockets litigation” like suing a major corporation. Why don’t they sue the person who actually shot them? They’ll likely get a large settlement.

    It would be ironic, if Walmart HAD better security. Then it would be sued for harassment of shoplifters or “profiling”.

    1. Hopefully this case is dismissed. I’d prefer not to deal with stadium style security when I’m trying to quickly run to the store for bread.

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