There are always such interesting things happening at Walmart.
Recently at the Walmart in Orange City, Fla.—just outside Daytona Beach—a man named Eddie McKee attempted to leave the store with $200 worth of steaks and ribs without paying for them. When confronted by the Walmart loss prevention officer, he abandoned the shopping cart full of meat and ran out of the store, pushing down a woman on the way out.
Customer Jose Manuel Martinez saw McKee being chased by the employee. Even though Martinez didn’t know why McKee was being chased, he decided to help. As McKee jumped in a car and attempted to escape, Martinez drew his legally concealed 9mm and put at least four bullets into the car, not intending to shoot McKee, but rather mark it for the police. Martinez was charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Check out the video from WOFL-TV in Orlando:
Gee, where to start with this one.
First, while I’m sure we can all appreciate Martinez’s enthusiasm for apprehending attempted thieves, apparently he wasn’t paying attention when it was time to learn gun safety and has a serious lack of knowledge of what happens when bullets hit vehicles—in short, they can go anywhere and everywhere.
He also apparently hasn’t watched a cop show on TV in the last twenty years—and might have a common sense deficit. If he’d been watching Law & Order instead of whatever else he was watching, he would know that warning shots—the equivalent of what he did—are no longer used by law enforcement for a whole host of reasons. Neither law enforcement officers nor private citizens should be drawing their weapons unless their life—or someone else’s—is in danger, much less firing multiple shots. Firearms are not paintball guns; they are not designed for “marking” vehicles, and when used as such, only bad things can happen.
Not only wasn’t McKee armed or threatening anyone, he was just trying to escape without any stolen goods in his possession. Orange City Police Commander Jason Sampsell, when talking about Martinez, said, “His life was not in immediate danger, so he was not in fear for his life nor was he trying to defend someone else whose life was being threatened. There was no justification for the shooting.”
Both men were arrested on site. McKee’s bail was set at $1,000, and Martinez’ at $7,000. As Martinez admitted he wasn’t trying to injure McKee, a good lawyer could probably get the charges reduced to malicious destruction of property and public discharge of a weapon, but the chances of him keeping his CCW are very slim. Cars everywhere are feeling safer.
What do you think? How could this situation have been handled differently?