SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Workers at the Southaven Walmart held a candlelight vigil on Thursday to honor the two, much loved store managers who were killed in Tuesday’s tragedy.
With news cameras a respectable distance away, employees at Walmart store 0848 gathered in the parking lot to give each other support and to remember their fallen colleagues.
"We did a lot of crying and remembering the good times," said Mina Gipson, "and laughing. Anthony could be funny."
Gipson is talking about 40-year-old store manager Anthony Brown. He and supervisor Brandon Gales were shot and killed by a disgruntled employee, according to Southaven Police. Gipson and Gales started working at the Walmart around the same time, nearly two decades ago.
"He worked in the grocery section," said Gipson, "and anything we asked him for, he would do it. He never turned us down."
Ann Saxton has worked at the Southaven store for 21 years. She’s still shaken that her coworker, Martez Abram, is charged with such a horrific crime.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said, “because I know Martez, too. You just never know what’s happening in their minds. It was really a shock.”
There were tears, and laughter, and a balloon release. Managers from Walmarts across the Mid-South were on hand to help.
"We just had a lot of support," said Gipson, "and it made us feel real good. It was just all in all a really good thing and it really helped to heal us."
Walmart is providing crisis counseling and disaster pay to affected workers. The company’s holding the official vigil on Friday, August 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
Gipson says the employees are going to wear t-shirts they recently bought, emblazoned with #WalmartStrong and their store number.
Proceeds from the shirt sale are going to the victims’ loved ones.
Both the Brown and Gale families are expected to attend the official vigil.