The Walmart in El Paso, where an armed assailant attacked Mexicans in a rampage this month, is expected to reopen later this year – and if so, the store will be unrecognizable to customers and employees , the ] company said Thursday.
The store, which is located on the east side of the city, will be disassembled and overhauled to its foundations over the next three to four months, Walmart said, adding new layout, flooring, fixtures and merchandise.
A memorial to the 22 people killed in the 3 August shootings is being included in the renovation of the business, which attracts both residents and customers from Ciudad Juárez on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande ].
The violence has enabled Walmart to decide on the future of the building. It is a well-known dilemma at the location of every mass shooting, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and the Century Aurora Theater in Colorado.
"I do not think any of the staff wants him to tear down the store," said Alex Rodriguez, 24, a store clerk for five years, who took his lunch break at the start of the shoot. "Most of them say they should reopen the store." However, some of his staff have struggled with the psychological consequences of the shootout, said Mr Rodriguez, who was transferred to another Walmart in El Paso seven miles away. "I already know some people who do not want to work again," he said. "I'm sure, even if the business looks different, they will not want to return."
Mr. Hargrove said on Thursday that the company had encouraged employees to provide feedback on the future of the business and intend to engage them intensely.
"The employees of this business have a very strong connection to this business," he said. "They have repeatedly told us that they want to work there again."
Mr. According to Hargrove, 93 percent of the company's 400 employees were employed in other Walmart stores in the region. Grief counselors are available through an employee wellness program . He added, "We will continue to provide them with what they need."
Laura C. Wilson, editor of "The Wiley Handbook of The Psychology of Mass shootings" and an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia said it was quite common for survivors to tear down a building or room where gun violence took place.
"One of the hallmarks of PTSD is the avoidance of trauma memories, and the location of the shooting is certainly a memory," said Professor Wilson in an e-mail on Thursday. "In light of this, it's not surprising that many communities choose to eliminate or significantly redesign places where mass shootings took place."
This room feels like it again, "she added. "The reuse of this space can contribute to the achievement of this goal."
Communities have chosen different approaches to mass shooting sites.
In Newtown, Conn., For example, the elementary school where 20 first-graders and six pedagogues were killed in mass shootings in 2012 was destroyed and a new school was built on another part of the property.
In Virginia Beach, officials still have not decided the fate of an urban building in which a city engineer who quit his job killed 12 people in May. The city conducted a survey among residents and employees of the city, where the largest percentage of respondents supported the demolition, reported The Virginian Pilot from Norfolk, Virginia.
In Orlando, Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub where 49 people were killed in 2016, reopened in another location. For the place of the shooting a permanent monument is provided, at which a temporary homage takes place.
Twenty years after a shoot-out at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, which killed 12 students and one teacher, the congregation has still not reached consensus on what should happen to the building, in which time and again Unauthorized actions occur despite a security area.
Professor Wilson said it was important to remember that people affected by mass shootings react differently.
" After mass shootings, some family members of those killed talk about wanting to preserve the room," she said. "They talk about the place as if it were a permanent monument to lost lives. They may view the desire to destroy or redesign the space as "going on" and / or "forgetting" the community. "
It's best if the community works together, she added," to decide what's best for those affected by the shootout. "
Seven of the Walmart gunmen were Mexican citizens, and Walmart said the monument would reflect the cultural diversity of the community.
" Our goal is to build a memorial to honor the victims, recognizes the Die Bi-national relationship between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez celebrates the strength of the El Paso community, "Walmart spokesman Hargrove said on Thursday.
"Nothing will erase the pain of August 3," he added, "and we are confident that the reopening of the business will be further evidence of the strength and resilience that the El Paso community has for this tragedy characterized. "