Walmart is removing from its stores nationwide signs, displays or videos that depict violence following the mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, store that killed 22 people.
The retailer instructed employees in an internal memo to remove any marketing material, turn off or unplug video game consoles that show violent games — specifically Xbox and PlayStation units, and to make sure that no violence is depicted on screens in its electronics departments.
Employees were also ordered to turn off hunting season videos in the sporting goods department.
Under the heading: “Immediate Action,” employees were instructed to “Review your store for any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior. Remove from the salesfloor or turn off these items immediately.”
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week,” said spokeswoman Tara House in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.
The company’s policy on video games that depict violence has not changed, nor has its policy on gun sales. There is no known link between violent video games and violent acts.
The killings in Texas, followed by another in Dayton, Ohio, just hours later that left nine dead, have put the country on edge.
On Tuesday, Baton Rouge police officers received several calls about reports of a shooting at the Walmart on Burbank Drive. Deputies evacuated the building, set up a perimeter, and conducted a search inside the store. One person was injured while trying to flee the store, and while there was a gun, no one was shot, officials say.
On Thursday, five days after the El Paso shooting, panicked shoppers fled a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, after a man carrying a rifle and wearing body armor walked around the store before being stopped by an off-duty firefighter. No shots were fired and the man was arrested after surrendering.
A backfiring motorcycle in New York’s Times Square set off a stampede Tuesday. Video footage showed the throngs rushing out of the busy tourism and entertainment area, some taking cover behind vehicles and in doorways. The New York Police Department, much like the Baton Rouge police did on Tuesday, took to social media saying, “There is no #ActiveShooter.” Read the full story.