A security guard in Thompson is recovering from horrific injuries, after a man allegedly threw a shopping cart at her while she was trying to defend her colleague from an attack, leading some to say the main entrance to the Walmart in Thompson is so dangerous its doors should be closed permanently.
Thompson RCMP said that on April 26 they got a call about an incident outside of the Walmart in the northern Manitoba city and when they got to the store they found two security guards had been injured.
One of the victims, a 63-year-old woman, was discovered with what police described as “serious injuries” to the head, which caused massive bleeding and she was taken to hospital where she received 17 staples to repair the injury.
In an email sent to the Winnipeg Sun, a police spokesperson said “the suspect did throw a shopping cart at the female victim leading to her serious injuries.”
The injured woman was assaulted, police said, after attempting to assist a 35-year-old security guard that police say was being attacked by the same suspect “with his fists” after the suspect allegedly tried to steal items from the Walmart and was confronted.
Police have arrested the man, and are now praising several witnesses who were at the scene who helped RCMP to arrest the suspect, and who helped the injured victim after she was hit in the head with a shopping cart.
According to police, when they got to the scene, witnesses pointed out the suspect, and he then fled the scene, leading to a brief foot pursuit.
An officer caught up to the suspect, but while trying to arrest him, police allege that officer was kicked several times, and a bystander stepped in to help the officer, who was eventually able to arrest the suspect.
“I would like to thank all the people that helped during this violent incident,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Shane Flanagan said in a media release.
“Several people provided assistance to the injured victims, and helped officers identify and arrest the suspect.”
Police say the suspect was taken to the hospital as a precaution and was “yelling, swearing and causing a disturbance” after his arrest, and allege he also “threatened an officer.”
The suspect has been charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated assault, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and uttering threats.
Some in Thompson now say the entrance to the community’s Walmart has become so dangerous and uninviting that people don’t feel safe when they enter the store, and a petition that already has more than 1,000 signatures is asking for the store’s main doors to be permanently closed, and for customers to instead enter from an adjacent mall door.
The petition, which was started on Sunday, is now online at Change.org, and had 1,075 signatures as of the afternoon of May 3.
“We all know how dangerous the Thompson Walmart has become,” a statement on the petition’s main page reads. “Security guards who are stationed there are being attacked, hurt, and seriously assaulted.
“You cannot walk in through the main entrance without passing a crowd of people who are sometimes fighting, drinking, arguing, asking you for money etc.
“It is a general consensus that Walmart has become a ‘party’ at the entrance every day.”
The petition states it would be “beneficial to close these main doors and open the mall entrance once again, and station security in the mall to ensure there is no violence, drinking, and loitering.”
The Winnipeg Sun reached out to Walmart Canada for comment on the incident, and about safety concerns at the Thompson Walmart.
“The incident that took place at our Thompson Walmart store last week is deeply disturbing and we continue to communicate with the store, our third-party security provider, the mall landlord, and local police as this is investigated,” a Walmart Canada spokesperson said in an email.
“Walmart uses a variety of security and asset protection procedures in-store to keep our associates and customers safe.
“Walmart is very concerned about the appalling and frightening act of retail violence, and we’re committed to doing what we can to prevent incidents in our stores.”
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the government of Canada.