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Kroger sued by employee after 2021 Memphis store shooting

The lawsuit was filed on July 26 in Shelby County Court but has been moved to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Kroger has been sued by an employee about a year after a gunman, Uk Thang, shot over a dozen people and killed two — including himself — at the store on New Byhalia Road in Collierville. 

According to the lawsuit, Mariko Jenkins is seeking as much as $10 million in damages. Jenkins was one of over a dozen people shot during the mass shooting. JFE Contracting, which oversaw the sushi counter in the store, is also a defendant in the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on July 26 in Shelby County Court but has been moved to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. 

On the afternoon of Sept. 23, 2021, Thang opened fire in the store. He had previously been a contract worker at the sushi counter since July 2020. Investigators said at about 7 a.m. that day, Thang had a disagreement with a worker at the store, was called into the manager's office, then was asked to leave. 

The lawsuit said, "Thang had a history of anti-social, antagonistic, volatile, unstable, threatening and predictably dangerous behavior." It also said, "Thang had a history of confrontations and disagreements with other individuals including employees and agents of Kroger and its invitees."

The lawsuit claims Kroger was negligent in its hiring practices. It also alleges the company "failed to provide adequate security measures at Kroger and would have protected (Mariko Jenkins) and others similarly situated from the mass shooting."

It also claims JFE should have better screened its employees, saying it failed "to adequately screen, investigate, oversee, evaluate or otherwise assess the character, propensities for violence, tendencies or other indications of the potential to cause harm of its franchisees and/or agents."

The day after the shooting, Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said Thang had no history of violence. 

ABC24 reached out to Kroger for comment on the lawsuit. They said they don't comment on pending litigation.

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