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El Paso Walmart hires off duty officers ahead of reopening after mass shooting

El Paso Walmart hires off duty officers ahead of reopening after mass shooting

Walmart has hired off-duty officers for its El Paso, Texas, stores as it prepares to reopen on Thursday the store that was the site of a mass shooting in August that left 22 people dead, The Associated Press reports.

Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia told AP the opening will happen unceremoniously after a brief meeting with employees. She declined to comment on security measures, according to AP.

“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,” Garcia told AP.

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El Paso police spokesman Enrique Carrillo told AP, “There was a time that Walmart hired off-duty officers and for some time prior (to) August 3rd that ceased.” 

El Paso police union President Ron Martin told AP off-duty officers are covering Walmarts and Sam’s Club stores in the area. 

“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. 

The off-duty officers make around $50 an hour, depending on their rank, which is about double their normal hourly wage, according to AP. 

The shooting in August left 22 people dead in El Paso, a largely Latino community. The alleged shooter drove more than 3,000 miles before the attack, according to authorities. The accused shooter, Patrick Crusius, has pleaded not guilty. 

Some victims are suing Walmart over the lack of security, according to AP. 

A Walmart spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill Wednesday morning.