Min Kim, the 31-year-old owner of Pacific Quick Shop in Spanaway, Washington, was sentenced to serve over eight years in prison for shooting and killing a fleeing shoplifter in March of 2016. The shooting incident took place roughly one month after Kim’s wife suffered minor injuries after being shot in a previous robbery at the location. The Washington shop owner was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of shoplifter Jakeel Mason, who was shot in the back as he attempted to run away from Kim’s convenience store.
When the shop owner’s sentence was handed down, many of his family members broke down in the courtroom. According to his wife Suel Lim, Min Kim had been traumatized by her run-in with an armed robber the month before the fatal encounter. Despite the fact that her injuries in the shooting were slight, the wife of the Washington shop owner told the press that her husband “struggled” afterward.
“I was shot by a robber and after that my husband struggled in fear.”
After the Washington shop owner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year, prosecutors in the case were seeking a 10-year prison sentence. Kim’s defense team asked the court for leniency and a two-year sentence, citing the shop owner’s trauma following his wife’s shooting.
As 4 News San Antonio reports, Superior Court Judge John Hinkman wasn’t inclined toward leniency, given the facts of the case. Despite the fact that the Washington store owner had suffered a personal trauma, the judge ruled he was completely unjustified when it came to shooting the fleeing shoplifter in the back. In the end, Min Kim was sentenced to eight years plus four months in state prison for shooting Mason to death.
“The use of deadly force when your own safety is not threatened does not justify shooting someone in the back.”
According to prosecutors in the case, the shop owner pointed his firearm at Mason when the would-be robber attempted to shoplift from the Pacific Quick Shop. In response, Mason raised his hands and began to back away. It was then that prosecutors allege that Kim began physically fighting with Mason, who eventually got away and began to run away from the scene. It was then that the shop owner once again pulled his weapon and shot Mason in the back, hitting him with two rounds and killing him.
Despite the emotional response of his loved ones during his sentencing, Min Kim took full responsibility for his actions on the day that Mason was shot and killed. Speaking to the court, he acknowledged that he had no right to kill the attempted shoplifter. He also acknowledged his own feelings of guilt.
“I did not have right to take Mr. Mason’s life, or anyone else’s life. I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
As part of their case against Washington shop owner Min Kim, prosecutors presented to the court surveillance video proving that the 21-year-old murder victim had been fleeing and not a physical threat to Kim at the time he was shot.
[Featured Image by Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock]