Two Employees Dead in Walmart Shooting

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek July 30, 2019
Two Employees Dead in Walmart Shooting

​Two Walmart employees were killed Tuesday by a disgruntled co-worker, police said. The shooting occurred around 6:30 a.m. in the town of Southaven, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn.

About 60 employees were inside the store when the shooting occurred, according to news reports. One victim was inside the store, the second victim was in the parking lot.

A police officer responding to the scene was shot but saved by his bullet-resistant vest. A second officer shot and injured the suspect, who police have identified as Martez Tarrell Abram, 39, of Southaven. Abram is a longtime Walmart associate. He now faces two murder charges, police said.

Walmart expressed its condolences for the victims, their families and the community and said it was working with local law enforcement. City officials said the suspect had been suspended from work. He was angry with a manager, and a few days earlier had shown another employee a knife he brought to work.

"The entire Walmart family is heartbroken by the loss of two valued members of our team," said Greg Foran, president and CEO, Walmart U.S. "We feel tragedies like this personally, and our hearts go out to the families of our two associates and the officer who was injured. 

"We are relieved the suspect was apprehended, and we appreciate the quick response of the local authorities and our associates. We'll continue to focus on assisting law enforcement in their investigation and on supporting our associates."

The shootings are the latest workplace-related violence this year. On May 31, 12 people were killed in Virginia Beach when a city employee opened fire in a municipal building. In February, five employees, including an HR manager and HR intern, were killed in a workplace shooting. SHRM Online has collected articles and resources on this topic from its archive and other respected sources. 

Workplace Mass Shootings: They're Rare, They're Puzzling and They Resonate with Americans 

Workplace shootings remain rare among the tens of thousands of gun deaths each year, but they resonate among Americans who worry they might become an aggrieved co-worker's next victim.

The phenomenon steadily seeped into the public's consciousness following a series of workplace massacres, including a big one at a post office that eventually led to the term "going postal" coined in the 1990s.
(USA Today)  

A Workplace Shooting Is Every HR Professional's Fear 

HR professionals' jobs are more dangerous than many realize. An HR manager and an HR intern were among five employees killed at a warehouse in Aurora, Ill., on Feb. 15 by a worker who was being fired. How can HR professionals and others in the workplace protect themselves? We've gathered articles on the shooting and preventing workplace violence from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets. 
(SHRM Online)  

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Understanding Workplace Violence Prevention and Response]   

Study: Some Types of Fatal Workplace Shootings on the Rise  

According to a new study, there's been a rise in the number of fatal workplace shootings that are unrelated to robberies. Workplace shootings aren't uncommon, but they don't always make headlines unless multiple people are killed. 

"What we see more recently now is that these crimes are more often committed as part of non-robbery events," said Mitchell L. Doucette, a health sciences assistant professor at Eastern Connecticut State University. "This includes things like arguments, both arguments between employers and employees, arguments between customers and employees, as well as other types of crimes [like] intimate partner violence, mass shootings and other types of circumstances." 

Is Your Office Prepared for a Workplace Shooting? 

As gun control bills continue to die in Congress and mass shooting dominate headlines, employers have started to take notice. Entire industries have been created around workplace shootings, from active-shooter insurance policies to the rise of workplace violence experts.

And according to those experts, most employers are not doing enough to prepare for potential incidents. They say there is more to prevention than just preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Workplace Violence Prevention Resources  

Shootings and other violent attacks are a sad reality of the world we live in—and the workplace is no safe haven. The Society for Human Resource Management's workplace violence prevention resource center can help HR make sure workers know how to stay safe in the face of a threat and respond effectively to violent workplace incidents. 
(SHRM Resource Page)



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