Walmart hires off-duty officers ahead of El Paso reopening

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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)

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Walmart has quietly hired off-duty officers at all of its stores across El Paso, Texas, 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 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.

Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia says the reopening will happen unceremoniously and following a brief meeting with employees. She declined comment on security measures.

El Paso police union president Ron Martin says members have been working as hired security at all Walmarts in the city since days after the shooting.

Accused shooter Patrick Crusius pleaded not guilty to murder in October. Police say he confessed to the shooting and that he targeted Mexicans.

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