LAUDERDALE LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a man fatally shot while intervening in a Walmart assault have filed a negligent security wrongful death lawsuit against the retail giant, urging increased safety measures during the holiday shopping season.
Forty-two-year-old Thierry Bastien, described as a hero by his girlfriend Makia Ford, was killed when he intervened to protect a Walmart employee from an off-duty worker, 22-year-old Tironie Sterling, who was assaulting her.
Monday morning, Bastien’s family returned to the Walmart to officially announce the lawsuit.
“It was traumatizing, still traumatizing,” said Ford on Monday.
Investigators said Sterling shot Bastien multiple times that day.
Sterling fled the store, but was arrested hours later, investigators said.
Speaking with 7News the day after the shooting, Ford recounted how Bastien tried to stop the attack, describing him as a good man who loved his family.
“The guy had threw the girlfriend on the floor, and he started pounding on the girl, so he ran off to go help the girl,” Ford said, “but as he was running off, I pulled him back and I told him, ‘Don’t go,’ and he turned around at me and said, ‘I’m just going to go help.’”
Family members said Bastien had dreams of opening his own restaurant. He left behind two children, one of whom was just four months old at the time of the fatal shooting.
“He was taken to the ground in front as Makia [Ford] and other customers screamed and screamed for several minutes,” said family attorney Michael Haggard. “This shooter took out the gun and shot him [Bastien] six times.”
“My son will never ever see his dad,” said Ford on Monday. “He’ll never know who his dad is. Thank God for the videos that we have [that] we took that I can show him.”
Recent data from the Gun Violence Archive revealed statistics about gun incidents and deaths at major retailers.
Walmart released a statement that reads as follows, “We’re heartbroken over the incident that happened at the Lauderdale Lakes store in May and offer our heartfelt condolences to the family during this difficult time.”
Between January 1, 2020, and November 22, 2022, Walmart experienced 363 gun incidents resulting in 112 deaths. Comparatively, Kroger had 45 gun incidents with 20 gun deaths, and Food Lion reported 32 gun incidents with 21 gun deaths during the same period.
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