San Jose

SJ Community Raises Safety Concerns After Fatal Safeway Shooting

Employees said they’ve been asking Safeway for an armed security guard for years, including Manuel Huizar Cornejo, who was killed in a shooting while working his overnight shift Sunday.

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A San Jose community is still looking for answers following the shooting death of Safeway employee Manuel Huizar Cornejo Sunday.

“This is very hard for me, so hard. But people, the community really, really touched my heart,” said Marisela Cornejo López, Cornejo’s mother.

For the past several days, family, friends, co-workers and even residents, who only heard about what happened, have been showing up at the makeshift memorial. They have dropped off candles, flowers, Cornejo’s favorite foods and even posters of characters from the popular anime series "My Hero Academia."

“I’m speechless,” said Cornejo López.

But there’s also a growing concern that has co-workers and the Cornejo family outraged.

“My brother told me, ‘Bro, we need a security. Every time I have to deal with something, every time,’” said Guillermo Cornejo.

Employees said they’ve been asking the Safeway in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood for an armed security guard for years, including Manuel Huizar Cornejo. None wanted to go on camera due to fear of losing their job. But they added they’ve also requested to reduce store hours because of how dangerous the situation has become.

One worker went on to say they have a theft every day and almost every hour.

Guillermo Cornejo said that this isn’t the first time Manuel was a victim of a crime at the Safeway while working here.

“I don’t know if you know, but they stole my brother’s car twice,” he said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Safeway headquarters, but we have not heard back. However, an NBC Bay Area crew did see an armed security guard at the entrance on Wednesday.

“Walking into the store and seeing a security, frustrated me. Because why now? Why not before?” Guillermo Cornejo said.

Both the Cornejo family and other members in San Jose's Willow Glen community are concerned that no information has been released about the suspect or suspects.

“We don’t know. Is it one person? Is it many people? And what should we be on the lookout for? This is our neighborhood Safeway. So, we’d like to feel safer in our neighborhood,” said San Jose resident Amy Terrell.

In a statement, San Jose police said they cannot reveal any more information to protect the integrity of the investigation.

“Hopefully, they’ve got it under control. That’s what I have to hope,” Terrell said.

Meanwhile, the Cornejo family is still searching for answers from both police and Safeway. The family told NBC Bay Area that they’re planning on organizing a peaceful march against gun violence in the near future.

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