The mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas has resulted in 10 Mexican citizens filing a lawsuit, with the help of the Mexican government, against the retail giant.
On August 3, a 21-year-old man from Allen, Texas, who has espoused anti-immigrant and white nationalist sentiments, opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, murdering 22 people and injuring another two dozen. The horrific shooting infamously took place the same day that a man expressing extremist left-wing ideology fatally shot 10 people and injured a total of 27 in Dayton, Ohio.
Of the two shootings, the El Paso shooting has received the most media attention, in part because of the shooter’s white nationalist and anti-immigrant views, as well as former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, making the shooting a key piece of his campaign messaging.
The ethnicity of many of the victims also played a role in the shooting’s national coverage. Of the 22 people killed, eight were Mexican nationals, while another eight of the 24 injured were likewise Mexicans.
On Wednesday, the Mexican foreign ministry issued a statement Wednesday declaring its rationale for supporting the lawsuit.
“The objective of these suits, presented in El Paso county, is to hold the company responsible for not taking reasonable and necessary measures to protect its clients from the attack,” the foreign ministry said in a statement reported by AFP. “The plaintiffs are seeking not only justice for themselves, but security for the general public.”
The ministry said that among the ten Mexican citizens who brought the lawsuit are survivors of the shooting and relatives of the victims.
Before going on his rampage, the El Paso shooter posted a manifesto condemning the “Hispanic invasion” of the state; after he was arrested, he told authorities that he was deliberately attempting to kill Mexicans. The case is being investigated as an act of domestic terror and potential hate crime.
AFP notes that Walmart announced in September changes to how it handles the sale of firearms and ammunitions. The retailer will no longer sell some “military-style” rifles, will no longer sell ammunition for handguns, and will bar customers from carrying weapons inside the store.
The Mexican government’s announcement of the lawsuit against Walmart came just two days after another shooting at the retailer, this time in the parking lot of a store in Duncan, Oklahoma, where police say a man shot his wife and her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself.
Following the shooting, O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, made mass shootings and gun control the center of his presidential campaign, which he ended on November 1 after failing to gain traction in the polls and fundraising. At the third Democratic debate in September, O’Rourke famously declared that, “Hell yes,” he is indeed calling for the confiscation of Americans’ guns to prevent future mass shootings.
“Some on this stage have suggested a voluntary buyback for guns in this country,” ABC News host David Muir said in comments directed to O’Rourke. “You have gone further. You said, quote, ‘Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell them to the government, all of them.’ You know the critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns and how would this work?”
“I am, if it is a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield,” he said, the Democratic crowd erupting in applause even before he could add the “battlefield” qualifier.