A fistfight in an Arizona Walmart on Sunday led to the losing fighter drawing his gun and killing the man who was, up until that point, winning.
A man who shot and killed another man inside a suburban Phoenix Walmart opened fire in self-defense, Chandler police said Monday.
According to Chandler police, Kyle Wayne Quadlin, 25, shot Kriston Charles Belinte Chee, 36, following a fight at a service counter Sunday afternoon.
Detectives reviewing surveillance video report the two men fought in the store before the shooting Sunday afternoon.
Quadlin told police he pulled his gun in self-defense.
“Mr. Quadlin was losing the fight and indicated he ‘was in fear for his life,’ so he pulled his gun and shot Mr. Belinte Chee,” police said in a statement.
Belinte Chee was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said. Investigators said the pair did not know each other before the shooting.
Investigators are continuing to interview eyewitnesses—there were many—and the results of the investigation will be turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
In most states, the carrier (note: Arizona doesn’t require a permit for open or concealed carry) would have had a legal obligation to attempt to deescalate the threat and avoid the fight if at all possible. Depending on the specific state, the carrier might even have to take a beating before drawing a weapon. The carrier may only draw the weapon if he is imminent fear that his life is in danger, and the attacker must be considered a credible threat.
Ultimately, imminent fear for his life was George Zimmerman’s defense. Zimmerman was pinned to the ground, screaming for help, as Trayvon Martin refused to stop his attack even after a witness John Good yelled at him to stop. Zimmerman said that Martin was attempting to smash his head against a concrete sidewalk, which is assault with a deadly weapon. The use of force expert at the Zimmerman trial said that if he’s been in the same situation, he would have fired at Martin sooner, and would have been justified in doing so.
Zimmerman was acquitted on all counts, despite frankly racist political calls for his conviction despite the copious circumstantial, eyewitness, and forensic evidence that supported his story.
Ultimately, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will likely have better evidence to base their decisions on than did the prosecutors in the Zimmerman case, and less race-based political pressure. There is surveillance video of this fight, as well as multiple close-range eyewitnesses under good lighting conditions, and there is little likelihood of evidence degradation or loss since the shooting happened indoors.
Update: Added clarifying note that Arizona does not require a permit for open or concealed carry)