Walmart plans to reopen the El Paso store where 22 people were killed in a shooting earlier this month, the retail giant said Thursday, but the entire interior of the building will first be rebuilt. The renovated store will include an on-site memorial honoring the victims of the shooting, many of whom were Latino, and recognizing the "binational relationship between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez" just across the border in Mexico, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said. The project is expected to take three to four months, reports the AP. Nearly all of the 400 employees at the El Paso store have been reassigned to other nearby locations, Hargrove said, and the Arkansas-based company believes reopening the store is "an important step in healing from this tragedy."
"Nothing will erase the pain of Aug. 3 and we're hopeful that reopening the store will be another testament to the strength and resiliency that has characterized the El Paso community in the wake of this tragedy," Hargrove said. Flowers, crosses, and handwritten messages now adorn a makeshift memorial outside one of the store's entrances. Hundreds of residents have visited in the wake of the shooting, where social workers hand out bottled water and offer counseling services. "If we close it, they win," said Laura Lopez, 59, who brought her gardening gloves from home to help clear dead flowers from the memorial site Thursday. "Life goes on and you've got to go on."
(Read more El Paso shooting