Employee shot in Collierville mass shooting files multi-million dollar lawsuit against Kroger

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT

SHELBY CO., Tenn. (WMC) - A Kroger employee who was shot last September when a gunman opened fire inside the grocery chain’s Collierville location has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company alleging that gross negligence allowed the deadly mass shooting.

Mariko Jenkins is suing Kroger Co. and its sushi franchise SnowFox for $5 million in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages for what the suit describes as negligence on the company’s part to protect the safety of the employees and customers from the shooter.

On Sept. 23, 2021, hours after being fired from the store’s sushi franchise, 29-year-old Uk Thang returned to the grocery store with multiple guns and opened fire on customers and employees inside. One person was killed and 15 others were injured as a result of the attack.

The suit alleges that because of his known behavioral history, Thang should have never been hired, despite having no criminal record.

The suit reads that “Thang had a history of anti-social, antagonistic, volatile, unstable, threatening and predictably dangerous behavior at all times pertinent hereto.”

According to the suit, Thang was known to frequently argue with co-workers after he was hired in July 2020.

On the morning of the shooting, he was called into the manager’s office to discuss these behavioral issues.

Around 7 a.m., Thang was terminated and asked to leave.

“Thang responded angrily, displaying great propensity to act violently and dangerously. Thang left the premises only after agents and/or employees of Kroger announced their intent to contact law enforcement,” the suit reads. “At all times pertinent hereto, all Defendants knew or should have known that Thang presented a danger.”

However, the suit says that Kroger never warned employees nor took reasonable action against this danger.

The lawsuit alleges that Kroger is guilty of failing to provide adequate security measures, failing to act prudently considering the circumstances, and ignoring foreseeable risks of harm.

“As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ acts and/or commissions, (Jenkins) has suffered severe injuries, great emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of income and enjoyment of life,” the suit reads.

Action News 5 reached out to the regional spokesperson for Kroger for a statement, who responded with “no comment.”

Jenkins said over the phone that attorney John Wade is representing him in this case but did not want to talk on camera.

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