The Omaha store where eight people were shot to death earlier this month reopened this morning and the Iowa-based department store chain is making a huge donation to a victims’ fund. Some four-dozen employees of the Von Maur store at Westroads Mall held hands and lined up across the entrance, along side eight wreaths, each with a blue ribbon and the message: "We remember."
The president of the department store chain personally opened the doors today. Jim Von Maur thanked the hundreds of people in attendance for their continued support following the horrible acts of violence.
Von Maur says: "It is with sincere respect and in memory of those that were lost in this senseless tragedy on December 5th that we resume operations and open our doors to all of you." Von Maur says even though it is difficult to reopen the store, it’s happening with the support of the residents of Omaha and the surrounding communities.
"The words of comfort, letters, e-mails, your donations to the victims’ fund has meant so much to Von Maur and the Von Maur family." About 50 store employees formed a chain by holding hands before the shoppers were allowed in to the Von Maur store, which has stepped-up security — both uniformed officers and in plain-clothes. The Von Maur chain is based in Davenport and features 22 stores in Iowa, Nebraska and seven other states.
Davenport-based Von Maur is donating a half-million dollars to the fund set up for the victims and families, taking the total over $843,000. The December 5th rampage is considered the deadliest mall shooting in U.S. history. Nineteen-year-old Robert Hawkins shot 11 people, killing eight, before killing himself.
The company has set up a website where you can make a donation to help the victims.