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Amazon ‘told workers shifts would continue despite shooting in warehouse car park’

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Amazon Worker Walkout (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Amazon Worker Walkout (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Amazon has reportedly told workers that they must continue working after a shooting at one of the company’s warehouses.

An “altercation” between two people occurred on Tuesday morning in south suburban Matteson, Illinois. One person opened fire on another, striking a vehicle; no injuries were reported.

It is unclear if either the shooter or the victim are Amazon employees. Police have identified a person of interest, but no arrests have yet been made.

It has also been stated that this is not an active shooter incident. Information gathered "indicates that this is an isolated and targeted incident between two parties, and there is no danger to the general public or within the Amazon facility," NBC reports.

However, a screenshot of a text message from Amazon to its warehouse employees suggests that the company expected employees to continue shifts as normal. The Independent was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the message.

“We appreciate your patience while we worked with local authorities to do everything possible to ensure your safety. Your safety and wellness as well as ensuring you continue to have the support you need are our top priority”, the message, posted on Reddit, reads.

“We continue to partner with local authorities who already confirmed there is no current threat to your safety. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve increased security resources on site as an extra safety precaution. We will operate night shift as planned today and return to normal operations tomorrow.”

A follow-up message said that Amazon was “working quickly to bring a counselor on site as soon as possible.”

In a thread posted on Reddit, where the message was shared, one Amazon employee said that the security at the warehouse was a “joke”.

The continued: “It’s so easy to conceal a weapon and just go crazy once you get to where you wanna go. My biggest fear is getting caught in the middle of a shooting (chicago gun violence is no joke) so to think this happened on my day off is terrifying.”

Amazon told The Independent that staff were sent home with pay after they had sheltered in place for safety reasons .

“We’re thankful nobody was injured during this incident in our parking lot and continue working closely with the police as they investigate”, it said in a statement.

Amazon’s decisions around employee safety have been called into question when, in Illinois in December 2021, a collapse of a warehouse led to the death of six people. The girlfriend of one of the victims, Cherie Jones quoted one of the texts from her boyfriend Larry Virden – 16 minutes before the tornado hit the facility – saying that Amazon was forbidding staff to leave.

“I got text messages from him. He always tells me when he is filling up the Amazon truck when he is getting ready to go back… I was like ‘ OK, I love you.’ He’s like, ‘well Amazon won’t let me leave until after the storm blows over’,” she said.

A screenshot of Mr Virden’s messages was shared by the More Perfect Union Twitter account.

“We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL,” Amazon said in a statement over the warehouse deaths to The Independent at the time.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the tornado. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene. We’re continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area.”

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