SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) – A shoplifter shot a 4-year-old girl in the abdomen as she entered a Wal-Mart in Deming with her family, and the store’s negligent policies are to blame, the girl’s court-appointed conservator claims in Santa Fe County Court. The conservator claims the bullet probably was stolen from the store, and the Wal-Mart manager’s decision to grab the shoplifter, who already had fired a warning shot, recklessly put everyone in the building at risk.
The Dona Ana County Court appointed attorney Helen Lopez as limited conservator for 4-year-old Serena Carrizosa. Lopez accuses Wal-Mart of negligence.
Lopez claims the manager’s actions were part of an ongoing pattern of cavalier, gung-ho actions on the part of the store’s staff in facing down shoplifters.
During the struggle, the shoplifter’s partner escaped with the loot: a computer cable and two video games.
Lopez says that an investigation revealed that the bullets in the shoplifter’s gun had probably been stolen from the same store only a few days earlier. That theft was made possible because an employee failed to follow safety and loss prevention procedures, according to the complaint.
Lopez seeks punitive damages for the girl. She is represented by James Gilman of Albuquerque.