Pine Hills FL Feb 6 2017 A customer of a Pine Hills Wal-Mart shot and killed a 19-year-old man suspected of stealing diapers and other items from the store Saturday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Angelo Nieves said man left the store at 5559 Clarcona Ocoee Road with three other theft suspects and was attempting to load stolen items into a vehicle just after 8 a.m. when a Wal-Mart employee attempted to stop them.
That’s when another Wal-Mart customer came out in front of the store and “assisted” the employee, Nieves said. A “commotion” ensued, and the customer — fearing for his life — shot one of the suspects multiple times.
One of the suspects reached for something, [and the shooter] thought that it was a weapon. — Orange County Sheriff's Office Capt. Angelo Nieves
“What we have at this point is that the individual felt threatened — one of the suspects reached for something [and he] thought that it was a weapon or firearm,” Nieves said. “The individual who was assisting the [employee] was armed and used that weapon to fire on the suspect.”
The suspects got into their red vehicle, which would later be discovered to have been stolen in a January carjacking, and tried to flee the scene. The car then smashed into two parked cars in the Wal-Mart parking lot, so the suspects bailed out and ran from the scene on foot.
Deputies were called to the store at about 8:12 a.m. for a report of a “911 emergency,” according to the Sheriff’s Office’s online list of calls for service. By the time they arrived, the suspects were out of sight.
The man who was shot ran to a Citgo gas station across the street from the Wal-Mart, where an ambulance was called. Orange County Fire Rescue medics then took the man to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment as a trauma patient.
Nieves said the man later died at the hospital.
A deputy was checking with surrounding stores including a Speedway gas station next to the Wal-Mart for surveillance footage that may have shown which direction the suspects fled.
Diapers and other evidence remained scattered across the parking lot as detectives worked the crime scene, Nieves said. Few cars remained in the lot as deputies foraged the area.
Yellow crime scene tape stretched around the Wal-Mart and a Citgo gas station across the street as of about noon Saturday, banning potential customers from entering businesses' parking lots. Clarcona Ocoee Road remained open to traffic.
Orange County Sheriff's deputies investigate near the scene of the shooting.
Orange County Sheriff's deputies investigate near the scene of the shooting. (Caitlin Doornbos/Orlando Sentinel)
Officials are reviewing the evidence and statements made at the scene. The customer who shot the suspect remained on scene to give his account of what happened. Deputies will determine whether charges are warranted for the shooter.
No identification was released on any of the individuals involved.
Nieves said there were no other victims.