The only thing that stops a shoplifter is a vigilante bystander with a gun. Or, at least, that’s what an unidentified woman apparently decided shortly before she opened fire on an SUV carrying a man who was fleeing the nearby Home Depot.
The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon at a Home Depot parking lot in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Store security chased the alleged shoplifter as he jumped into an SUV that was waiting to help him flee. According to the Detroit Free Press, that’s when a 48 year-old woman drew a gun and began firing shots at the vehicle.
The woman, who has a license to carry a concealed firearm, is reportedly “cooperating with police.”
If this wannabe Dirty Harry were an actual cop, she almost certainly would have violated the Constitution. Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Tennessee v. Garner, law enforcement may not use deadly force “unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
Based on publicly available information, there’s no indication that the fleeing man, who allegedly stole power tools and welding equipment, presented a sufficient threat to the public to justify the use of deadly force.
The vigilante shooter may face criminal charges. Among other things, Michigan law provides that anyone who “because of carelessness, recklessness or negligence . . . shall cause or allow any firearm under his control to be discharged so as to destroy or injure the property of another” may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. Depending on the woman’s intent at the time of the crime, she could potentially face much more serious charges — including attempted murder.