There are certain circumstances under which a gun owner can unsheathe his weapon and fire away — threat of death, serious bodily harm, or rape. A fleeing shoplifter at Home Depot doesn’t count, and now a woman seen in a surveillance video shooting after two shoplifting suspects may be in serious trouble.
And many gun safety experts in the Detroit area firmly believe that not only did her actions make gun owners look bad, but the woman should be arrested.
“There could have been a 4-year-old child coming out of Home Depot with their grandparent,” instructor Tanisha Moner told Fox 2 Detroit. “You can’t shoot at moving cars. You can’t shoot at people retreating. You can’t do that.”
The shooting at Home Depot went down in the parking lot. The weapon was a 9mm handgun. The shooter was a 48-year-old, as-yet-unidentified woman who has not yet been charged and is cooperating with police. Her targets: two men fleeing from Home Depot loss prevention officers with $1,000 in goods, the Oakland Free Press explained.
Auburn Hills Police said the loss prevention officer was chasing the shoplifters when they got outside and jumped into a waiting getaway car driven by a third suspect, the Detroit Free Press reported. The woman saw the chase, drew her weapon, and shot at the vehicle as it sped away, possibly hitting one of the back tires.
The shoplifters are described as a black man and white man, both in their 40s. They are still on the lam, having stole power tools and welding equipment. Gun safety experts said police officers wouldn’t have resorted to shooting the suspects as they fled away — meaning the woman’s actions were a bit out of line, in Doreen Hankins opinion. She holds CPL classes.
“It’s my worst nightmare as a CPL instructor. You have to know the entire situation before you pull that handgun out. And I don’t see that a shoplifter at Home Depot fills any of those criteria. You are not a police officer. You are not a person out there protecting the public at large.”
Someone who misuses their legally-owned gun faces stiff penalties, from felony firearm, reckless use of a firearm, and felonious assault. Such charges may be pending against the woman for shooting after the vehicle and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office is looking over the incident and will decide whether to pursue the case.
That’s because in Michigan, a CPL holder must face imminent death, a severe beating, or a sexual assault — either to themselves or someone else — to pull their weapon. As one expert told the Press, the gun is a “tool of last resort.” If placed in a similar situation at Home Depot, another said he never would’ve drew his weapon.
People on the Press website felt much the same way, posting about the incident on Facebook throughout the week. Few of them thought the shooting was justified.
“I hope she gets the upmost charges filed against her. As a CPL holder, she makes a mockery of what I worked hard to get and makes all of us law-abiding citizens look stupid,” Erik Davenport said.
“What is this??? The wild wild West!” Betsy Pilon added.
At a time when gun ownership has come under fire following the latest mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, this woman’s actions at Home Depot may misrepresent the average gun owner. Many of the experts who spoke with local media following this shooting stressed that there are very few situations that require such drastic measures and urged caution.
Back to Tanisha Moner. She says the following situations would not require the use of a weapon: a home burglary (“call the police”), a threat to your dog’s life (“your pet is considered personal property”), and even a carjacking (in a recent incident in the area, a citizen shot after a suspect who was in retreat, so even that situation is a “sticky one”).
So, in lieu of shooting after the Home Depot thieves, what should she have done? Retired deputy police chief Daryl Brown had the answer.
“She should have noted the description of the individual. Noted the description of the vehicle, noted the method of escape. But to take a shot at him, I don’t see that happening. She should get arrested. Because one, she didn’t have to (shoot) at somebody for a misdemeanor. Even officers, we can only shoot at fleeing felons in exigent circumstances.”
[Photo Courtesy karenfoleyphotography, Ismagilov / Shutterstock]