At 8:30 pm on Sunday, August 29, 1999, 47 year old Brian Midgette of Gilbertsville, PA, walked into the Wal-Mart store in Pottstown, and bought ammunition for a .22 caliber handgun. According to the local police chief, the employees who sold the ammunition to Midgette did not know that he was the husband of Marsha Midgette, 45, who had worked at the Wal-Mart for two years. About an hour after buying the ammunition, Midgette waited for his wife to arrive to start her shift. He got out of his truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot and walked over to his wife. Marsha Midgette fled to the rear of the Wal-Mart store, with her husband in pursuit. She ran into a small employee training room filled with desks and computers. Midgette shot his wife in the head and then shot himself in the temple. This “grisly scene”, as retold in the Philadelphia Inquirer, went unnoticed by Wal-Mart shoppers. The store was evacuate when police arrived, and reopened the next morning, when shoppers “were greeted with smiles from employees”, the newspaper said. One Wal-Mart spokesman said the whole event “unfolded lightning fast”. Two days after the shooting, Mrs. Midgette was listed in critical condition in a nearby hospital.
According to the Wal-Mart spokesman, this incident is the second time in the past three months that a shooting has occurred at a Wal-Mart store. Last June, a gunman killed two Wal-Mart workers, and then himself, outside of a Wal-Mart in Madison, WI. The company said there is no existing policy to keep security guards at Wal-Mart stores, and the company could not say whether there was a guard on duty during the Pottstown incident. Roughly six years ago, Wal-Mart did a study or review of crime at their stores, but the results of that study were never made public, and although referred to in several court cases against Wal-Mart, has never been introduced into evidence. For additional examples of crime at Wal-Marts, and the court fine that was levied against Wal-Mart for witholding discovery information about crime at Wal-Marts, see newsflash entries listed earlier in this newflash section.