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Jacksonville security company 'inundated' with calls ahead of Black Friday

The company's CEO is hoping the Virginia Walmart shooting will serve as a wake-up call to shoppers.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — At least six people are dead after a shooting at a Walmart in Virginia.

Walmart's media team confirmed the shooter was an employee with more than a decade of experience at the store.

First Coast News checked in with some shoppers at a Walmart on the Southside of Jacksonville, and none of them were aware of that shooting.

However, it was certainly on the radar for one local security company, where the owner says they'll be out in full force the next few days to keep Duval shoppers safe.

"I'm trying to talk my boyfriend into getting up and going to the Town Center, but I may do most of my shopping on Amazon," said Walmart Shopper Liz Martin.

Black Friday could prove to be an early morning for Liz Martin if she can win her boyfriend over.

While she's focused on the best deals, Chief Marcus Williams of Protective Enterprise Public Safety will be focused on giving shoppers an added level of protection.

"We have been getting an influx of calls," said Williams. "We've been very busy on our commercial properties that are reaching out for visibility and a uniform presence in the establishments."

Williams says his 45-person team will be spread out across Northeast Florida through the holiday weekend, so shoppers can feel safe when they see the green and yellow lights.

He's also contacted partner agencies to assist if PEPS gets so busy it needs to route some calls.

He's hoping the situation at the Chesapeake, Walmart serves a wake up call as Black Friday shoppers head to the stores.

"I think everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings," said Williams. "Know where your exits are as you enter and just be aware."

First Coast News reached out to Walmart to see if it was making any company-wide safety changes in light of the shooting.

They responded quickly, however the media response was very specific to that situation and didn't touch on their operations as a whole:

While details of the tragic incident in our Chesapeake, Virginia store are still emerging, authorities have confirmed multiple fatalities. We are focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families at this time. The alleged shooter has been identified as Andre Bing. We can confirm that he was a Walmart associate. Andre’s position with the company was overnight team lead and he’s been employed with us since 2010. We are thankful for the local first responders and will continue to work with local law enforcement as they continue their investigation.

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