Slain Uber Driver’s Family Blames Walmart for His Death

CHICAGO (CN) — A teenager killed an Uber driver with a machete and knife she had just stolen from Walmart, the man’s family claims in a civil lawsuit against the retailer and its security service. The teen has been charged with first-degree murder.

The late Grant Nelson’s family sued Walmart, Monterrey Security Consultants and Universal Protection Service dba Allied Universal Security on Monday in Cook County Court.

Nelson was called to pick up an Uber passenger at a Walmart store in Skokie, a North Shore suburb, on May 30.

The passenger was Eliza Wasni, 16, who had just taken “a machete and a knife from the display counter … and walked around the store with the machete and knife in her hands,” according to the complaint.

As Wasni left the store, weapons in hand, “there were two Wal-Mart agents and/or employees standing immediately in front of the exit doors and Eliza Wasni passed within feet of each of these agents,” the complaint states. But she “was not stopped, questioned in any way, or asked to show a receipt by any employee and/or agent of Wal-Mart.”

When Nelson showed up, according to the brief complaint, Wasni got into his car and “proceeded to attack Nelson with the machete and knife and inflicted injuries that resulted in his death.”

Wasni was a student at Taft High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side. She has been charged as an adult but is being held at a juvenile detention center, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Nelson, 34, of Wilmette, was a graduate of New Trier High School.

The Nelson family’s attorney Robert Bingle said in a statement: “Grant Nelson was a wonderful son and brother, and a caring and giving friend to many. His enthusiasm for life was contagious to everybody he met. We believe that at 3 a.m. in the morning, it was very obvious that this young girl with a machete in one hand and a knife in the other hand, with no receipt, was not going to do anything good. And, if Wal-Mart and its agents had simply followed their own procedures, this terrible tragedy would have been avoided.”

Grant’s mother, Christina Nelson, said her family was “devastated by the loss of Grant and continue to grieve. We hope this lawsuit will effectuate a review of store procedures and a realization that not following policies can have tragic consequences.”

Walmart said in a statement: “We continue offering our deepest condolences to Mr. Nelson’s family for their loss. Out of respect for everyone involved, we believe it’s not appropriate to discuss the specifics of this matter, but we can say that we believe our associates acted properly, including alerting third party security to a possible shoplifting incident. We will respond appropriately with the court.”

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