Each year, we see more and more mass shootings in public places — from schools to cinemas, churches to concerts, and even at the local Walmart.
That’s exactly where a terrible mass shooting occurred just two years ago nearby in El Paso.
What makes nightmares like these even more tragic is that property owners can really do more to protect their patrons from these types of attacks — and should be doing more, in fact. If a property owner fails to implement security measures to discourage foreseeable criminal activity, then they are in violation of Texas’ premises liability laws and could be subject to a negligent security lawsuit from the victims.
Read on to learn more from Texas personal injury attorney Stephen Stewart about the facts of this horrible case, recent updates, and how negligent security relates to the Walmart shooting.
2019 Walmart shooting and updates
On the morning of August 3, 2019, Patrick Woof Crusius began shooting victims in the parking lot of a Walmart in El Paso before walking into the store with his semi-automatic WASR-10 rifle.
Employees and customers alike attempted to hide and evacuate, but the tragic death toll from this man’s attack reached 23 deaths, along with 23 injuries.
Crusius was forced to surrender to authorities not long after the shooting. Soon after, authorities discovered a “manifesto” that appeared to be posted from his account onto the internet just hours before he committed this attack that espoused far right, anti-immigrant, and anti-Hispanic theories.
Just last week, the El Paso County Veteran Service Office and El Paso Hidden Heroes hosted a candlelight ceremony in honor of the victims of this horrible hate crime.
Additionally, Crusius’ court hearing was set to be held via Zoom call on August 3, 2021 (exactly two years after the attack) but has now been postponed until November due to COVID-19 backlogs in El Paso courts.
Negligent liability cases in Texas
Texas has premises liability laws that state property owners should do everything reasonably possible to prevent crime from occurring to people on their property.
Essentially, if your business can hold a certain amount of people, the business has the responsibility to provide security for those people.
However, if a crime still occurs because the business or property owner fails to provide adequate security measures, the victim may be able to seek compensation through a negligent security lawsuit.
Typical negligent security lawsuits revolve around:
- Criminal assaults
- Other violent attacks
For example, then, a mass shooting could be considered an event in which proper security should be taken.
It can sometimes be tough to prove fault in these types of cases, but an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt with these types of Texas cases knows to look for the following:
- Proximity of other crimes
- Recent, frequent or recurring crimes
- Similarity and publicity of other crimes
The Walmart shooting and negligent security
Several of the victims in the Walmart shooting have banded together to sue the superstore, claiming that “reasonable and necessary measures to protect its customers” were not taken.
This case is still ongoing.
We will update this blog as news is released.
Hire a personal injury attorney in Austin
If you have been the victim in a case that could qualify as a negligent security lawsuit, The Stewart Law Firm can help. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, and we are happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss getting you the help you need. Contact us today.