North Carolina Shooting at Lowe’s a Reminder of Workplace Violence in Hickory, Elsewhere

A Lowe’s employee was shot and killed while working at her cash register. What makes this event even more tragic was the gunman was her husband.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Hickory and elsewhere recently posted on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Blog that nationally there were over 500 workplace homicides in 2010.
Within hours leading up to the shooting, Por Ye Lor, 31, was outside his home putting together a ride-on toy for his kids. He then went to his wife’s workplace, around 5:20 p.m. where witnesses report seeing the couple arguing. He then pulled out a handgun and shot his wife, Zoua Xiong, in the head, and then turned the gun on himself.

In a few short minutes, three young children ages 6, 4 and 2 were left orphaned. Neighbors, relatives and friends all deny knowing of any problems between the couple. Neighbors described the couple as being peaceful and quiet, often playing outside with their kids or tending to their garden.

Just recently they had installed an in-ground swimming pool. Xiong, 25, had worked at Lowe’s for 6 years and was a head cashier. She was well liked by her co-workers who tragically witnessed this horrific event. The store was closed the next day and grief counselors were called in to talk with traumatized employees.

The Social Services Department of Rowan County took the children and placed them in foster care and hopes to have them with family members as soon as possible.
Typically there are four different types of violence that occur in the workplace:

-Patients or clients commit the violent act.
These types of events usually take place in the health care industry like at psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes. Caregivers are often the victims of these attacks. Other types of workers that are exposed to these incidents include flight attendants, prison staff, police officers and teachers.

-Violence that occurs as the result of a robbery or other type of crime.
The assailant has no reasonable relationship to the employee or business. Victims that are most often at risk for this type of attack are: taxi drivers, convenience store clerks, and security guards.

-Violent acts to managers and co-workers.
In these cases the perpetrator does have a past relationship with the business. The attacker is a former employee who has a beef with either a former co-worker or boss. Statistically these incidents are rare but they often get a huge amount of media attention.

-Domestic violence that leads to workplace violence.
This is what the Lowe’s shooting appears to be. The husband did not have a relationship with the business but his wife, the intended victim, worked there. It is estimated by the U.S. Department of Justice that boyfriends and husbands commit roughly 13,000 violent acts to their girlfriends and wives in the workplace annually.

If you or someone in your family has been a victim of workplace violence in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Family at a loss to explain violence, by Nathan Hardin, Salisbu Post

More Blog Entries:

Fewer Willful Violation Citations in North Carolina Leads to High Rate of Workplace Injuries in Unsafe Work Environments, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2011.

Wide Variety of Work Environments Deemed Dangerous; Employers Need to Protect Workers from Injury in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 9, 2011.

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