With the first major massacre of the year now under way, the nation’s retail giant is grappling with the aftermath and is now looking to its workforce to help guide it through the night.
Walmart announced Monday that it had fired 661 people in what it called a mass “temporary layoff” of about 1,000 employees.
The company is still looking for another 2,000 workers and has said it expects to hire about 7,000 by the end of the month.
WalMart, the world’s largest retailer, said in a statement that it will provide a “proactive, collaborative” recovery plan with help from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It said it will work with the government and other private companies to support people through the transition.
The company has also launched an online support hotline, Walmart Support, to help people who may be affected by the shooting and get advice from its team of mental health professionals.
Wal-Mart has had trouble hiring in recent years.
Since its 2011 founding, the company has been struggling to find qualified employees to work in its stores, and it has struggled to fill hundreds of retail jobs.
The news comes after the company said on Thursday that it was cutting nearly 200 jobs as part of a plan to boost its sales and profits.
Walmart also announced that it would spend $5.7 billion on new equipment this year to boost efficiency and reduce costs, but it has yet to make any major hires.
The shooting occurred as workers were leaving stores after work on Saturday morning.
The gunman, Wade Michael Page, killed six people and wounded five others before taking his own life.
The gunman also killed a police officer who was also on duty in the store.
Investigators believe Page used a 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun to kill the officers, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
The massacre happened during the holiday shopping season, which usually brings shoppers to stores looking to stock up on items, such as toys and Christmas decorations.
But the holiday season also is often marked by violence in the U of A’s campus and community.
The U ofA has had to cancel classes and cancel a number of events this year.
It also canceled its annual commencement and graduation ceremonies and held its first ever public memorial service.
A spokeswoman for the university, Angela Schaeffer, said Monday that the university is cooperating with the investigation and has no further comment.
Walman said in its statement that Page was an employee at the company for more than six years and had worked there for nearly 10 years.
The statement said that he was a proud member of the Walmart family.
Walter Parks, a professor of law and social work at St. Paul’s University in Minnesota, said that it is a bit strange that Walmart has yet not been forced to hire additional employees to help deal with the shooting.
“There is no indication that there is any sort of pattern,” Parks said.
Parks said it is important for people to understand that this is just one incident.
He added that the tragedy is a reminder of how fragile our society is.
“Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.