Walmart manager killed during robbery; family has questions for company

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by Crystal Cruz and Ryan O'Donnell

Bio | Email | Follow: @3TVODonnell

Video report by Crystal Cruz

Posted on April 7, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 10 at 9:15 AM

Map: Walmart robbery and homicide

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PHOENIX -- Phoenix police are looking for a man who robbed some Walmart store employees and then shot and killed an assistant manager.

It happened just after midnight Saturday morning at the Walmart near 75th Avenue and McDowell Road.

Police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said two employees were collecting cash from the store's registers and placing it in a shopping cart when a man with a handgun came up and told them he was robbing them. The gunman grabbed the cart and began pushing it out of the store as other employees were alerted to the robbery.

Thompson says support manager Peter Marquez, 47, was outside with another employee and they ran to the front doors. As they approached the robber, the unidentified man shot Marquez, who would have turned 48 Sunday. The gunman fled the scene and escaped into a nearby neighborhood which has several abandoned homes.

Police spent the day scouring that neighborhood but so far they have come up empty.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s. He was wearing a gray hoodie sweatshirt, blue jeans and dark shoes.

Investigators have released surveillance photos in hopes of being able to identify the robber.

The victim's brother, Jerry Marquez, places the blame for his brother's death squarely on Walmart.

"If Walmart would have had security at night instead of some BS, I mean, come on," he said clearly emotional. "They exchange money -- at nighttime. The store is open 24 hours. My brother would not be dead today, and he would have his birthday tomorrow."

While at the store Saturday night, less than 24 hours after the robbery and subsequent shooting, 3TV's crew saw two security guards patrolling the store's property.

3TV asked Walmart spokeswoman Dianna Gee if there was a security guard the store Friday night and Saturday morning and if any protocols were broken during the shooting.

About 30 minutes after Saturday's 9 p.m. broadcast, Gee responded with this statement:

"This is a tragic situation. We understand this is a difficult time for the family, as well as our associates. We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our associates and customers. On a regular basis each Walmart store is reviewed to determine the appropriate security measures and to make any necessary adjustments."

Gee did not elaborate on what the regular reviews entail or when the last one was performed at the 75th Avenue and McDowell Road location.

Marquez leaves behind two adult children.

Marquez's Family is raising money for Peter's services and have set up a memorial fund at
Desert Schools Federal Credit Union account #6000136395.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call the Phoenix Police Crime Stop at 602-262-6161 or Phoenix Police Violent Crimes at 602-262-6141. As always, any caller main remain anonymous.

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