A Georgia man who’s been repeatedly arrested for various misdemeanor and felony crimes over the past decade is now facing murder and attempted murder charges after killing a grocery store cashier and wounding an off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security at a grocery store in DeKalb County on Monday. Police say that 30-year old Victor Lee Tucker, Jr. argued with the cashier over the mask mandate at the Big Bear Supermarket Monday afternoon before leaving the store empty handed.
Tucker returned a short time later, however, and allegedly walked up to the cashier, pulled out a gun, and shot 41-year old Laquitta Willis. The off-duty sheriff’s officer then exchanged gunshots with Tucker, who was arrested and taken to a local hospital when he tried to crawl out of the supermarket moments later.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tucker has arrested for a variety of crimes dating back to 2012.
While most of Tucker’s charges have been misdemeanors, there were at least two instances in his criminal history that could have led to him being prohibited from lawfully possessing a firearm; the psychiatric evaluation from 2018 and the felony charges of terroristic threats and acts in 2017. We don’t know why those felony charges were ultimately dismissed, but we do know that just a year later Tucker was back behind bars and facing new charges of battery related to family violence.
Interestingly, under Georgia law that charge is a misdemeanor for a first offense, but a second such conviction is treated as a felony. That raises questions about Tucker’s 2012 sentence for battery; was that charge also originally related to an act of family violence? Was Tucker allowed to plead that charge down as well?
We don’t have the answers to those questions yet, but we do know the outcome of every one of Tucker’s previous criminal cases: probation or dismissal of the charges. Even after Tucker pled guilty to a second battery charge in six years, the courts sentenced him to probation and parenting classes rather than sentencing him to jail time. Tucker was eligible for a year-long stay behind bars, but instead was allowed to walk free just three years ago.
There’s no doubt that gun control activists in Georgia will use this murder to demand new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, but the courts had plenty of opportunities to address Tucker’s proclivity for violence and his anger issues over the past nine years. The real problem is that the criminal justice system repeatedly failed to punish Tucker for his violent acts, and now they’ve escalated to the point that an innocent woman has lost her life because Tucker allegedly lost his temper. Guess the anger management classes he was told to attend didn’t have much effect. I can’t help but wonder if putting him behind bars for battery would have.