Walmart has announced plans to rebuild and reopen the El Paso store where a gunman killed 22 people earlier this month.
The company will also open a memorial on site to pay tribute to those killed in the shooting and two dozen people injured. It’s expected to open in about three to four months.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the store will be entirely renovated first.
“We just wanted a new start for our associates and for the community, and we made the decision to rebuild the entire interior of the store,” Hargrove said.
That includes new floors, new fixtures, new walls and new merchandise.
“Essentially all that will remain in the building is the building’s shell as we rebuild (inside) that,” he said.
On Aug. 3, a gunman went on a shooting rampage. Twenty people were killed the day of the shooting. Two more died from their injuries in following days. Twenty-four people were injured.
Police say the gunman admitted to targeting Mexicans. He currently faces a single capital murder charge at the state level, and federal prosecutors are treating the incident as domestic terrorism. Hate crime charges may also be added.
The renovation will include a memorial, Hargrove said, adding that it will be designed with community feedback.
“Our goal is to establish a memorial that honors the victims, recognizes the bi-national relationship between El Paso and our customers who live in Mexico and celebrates the strength of the El Paso community,” he said.
Around 400 associates worked at the store. The majority have been temporarily reassigned to nearby Walmart locations.
“The associates are critical to how we think about the future of that store. They’re going to be deeply engaged throughout the rebuilding process from planning the permanent memorial, to preparing the store for opening up, and up to the opening day ceremony,” he said.