Virginia Walmart shooting adds to nation’s grim gun toll

Because of Walmart’s size and geographic reach — it has more than 4,000 stores across the United States — the retailer is often the scene of crime, some of which is violent. During the coronavirus pandemic, some retailers and their employees have said violence has increased in all types of stores.

Walmart has said it has taken steps to increase security at some stores, such as installing cameras in parking lots and hiring off-duty cops on busy shopping days.

The store has also been at the center of debates about gun violence. Though the chain sells guns, Walmart has imposed increasingly stringent restrictions Sale of firearms in the wake of mass shootings. In recent years, it has stopped selling handguns and certain rifles, including AR-15s, and raised the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.

In Chesapeake, the Walmart served as a hub for many residents. Some people interviewed Wednesday said they were there just days earlier to prepare for Thanksgiving. Others said they planned to visit either the night of the shooting or later in the week.

As of late Wednesday, two victims were in critical condition, hospital officials said. One of them was Sarah Walker, a Walmart employee and mother of three, who suffered five gunshot wounds, according to Jennie Walp, a friend of Ms Walker.

“She was always a force to be reckoned with, determined to work hard to provide for her children and always good for a laugh,” Ms Walp said. “It’s definitely shocking that it was hit so close to home given the ongoing violence that continues to take place across our country.”

Reporting was provided by Michael Corkery, Maggie Astor, Jesus Jimenez, Christine Chung, Jenna Russell and Rich Griset. Kitty Bennett contributed to the research. Virginia Walmart shooting adds to nation’s grim gun toll

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