A customer attempting to help a Walmart employee stop a number of people who stole two carts filled with merchandise in Orlando Saturday ended up shooting one of them after claiming that he thought the man was reaching for a weapon.
Police say a customer at a Wal-Mart store in Florida fatally shot a man who was among a group suspected of stealing two carts full of merchandise.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the shooting occurred Saturday after suspects left the store with stolen items.
Sheriff’s Capt. A.L. Nieves says the men were loading the merchandise into a car when a worker and a customer who came to the employee’s aid confronted them.
Nieves says the customer was armed and fired at a suspect, who he thought was going for a weapon. Nieves did not identify anyone involved.
All four suspects jumped in a vehicle in took off. The male suspect was dumped at a gas station nearby. A second suspect, a juvenile female, was shot in the leg, apparently by accident, and was captured at the hospital later where she sought treatment. The 1-2 other suspects are still on the run.
As a general rule of thumb it is a very bad idea to insert yourself into a situation like this theft incident as an armed citizen. You do not have arrest powers, and introducing a firearm into a scenario with numerous human bad actors without having any idea of their backgrounds, attitudes, or or potential armament is a recipe for getting yourself or someone else killed over a cart full of cheap Chinese crap.
This customer may face both felony homicide charges if the evidence (and remember, Walmart loves their parking lot cameras) doesn’t show the suspect appearing to reach for a weapon, and a a civil trial from the dead man’s estate that could leave him bankrupt even if he wins. He may also face a criminal or civil case relating to shooting the unarmed minor female. It’s simply too soon to tell for certain.
It would have probably have been a better idea to get pictures/video of the suspects and their vehicle description/plate number if possible while walking by pretending to be a disinterested shopper than to put your life and the life of the Walmart employee at risk. You could then call 911 and provide that dispatcher to the police, who would likely be able to arrest them within minutes or hours.