The family of a 23-year-old man who bought a shotgun at Walmart and killed himself with it hours later is suing the store over that sale. But the allegations from the relatives of Jacob Mace have an additional twist—he worked at the very store where he bought the gun, reports NBC News. In fact, Mace bought the gun while on his break, and while he cleared the background check, his family says the store failed to ask proper screening questions. What's more, the lawsuit alleges that the sale went through even though employees suspected he was drinking. But most damning of all, the suit says co-workers knew Mace was contemplating suicide. In fact, he texted a Walmart co-worker about his thoughts days earlier, and that worker and a manager discussed putting Mace on a no-sale blacklist, per the lawsuit. That never happened.
“That’s one of the sadder things about this case—there are multiple points like that,” family attorney Kevin Sullivan tells the Washington Post. “Had an opportunity been taken to stop this [sale], the outcome would have been different. The most specific is the actual handing over of the firearm, but there were numerous balls that were dropped.” Mace's family says he spoke openly of his lifelong struggles with mental illness, and even missed work because of a related hospitalization, factors that should have barred the store in southern Maryland from selling him a firearm. Walmart's response: "We are committed to being a responsible firearms dealer and take these allegations seriously," says a spokesperson. "Out of respect for everyone involved and because this matter is in litigation, we are not going to discuss the details of this case outside of court." (Read more Walmart stories.)