A man accused of fatally shooting a suspected shoplifter outside a Wal-Mart in central Florida early Sunday may face criminal charges for his conduct, local media reported Tuesday.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will likely recommend prosecutors bring charges against an individual accused of killing 19-year-old Arthur Adams outside a Wal-Mart near Orlando over the weekend, authorities told WFTV 9, a local ABC affiliate.
Police said Mr. Adams and two others had stolen diapers and other items from the store at around 8 a.m. Sunday morning when they were approached in the parking lot by a Wal-Mart loss-prevention employee and the armed customer.
“While helping the employee, the customer felt threatened by one of the suspects, who the customer believed was arming himself,” Sheriff’s Office Capt. Angelo Nieves said in news release afterwards. “The customer, who had a firearm of his own, fired to defend himself and the suspects all jumped into their red vehicle and attempted to flee.”
Mr. Adams was shot multiple times and collapsed moments later at a nearby gas station before being transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police have neither disclosed the suspected shooter’s name nor whether he was licensed to carry the firearm. Local media has described the gunman as a 50-year-old black male who resides near the Wal-Mart.
Authorities have also declined to comment with regards to what charge or charges they’ll recommend the suspected shooter face, and said his name will likely be made public once investigators present the findings of their probe to the local prosecutors, WFTV reported.
It’ll ultimately be up to the State Attorney’s Office to decide whether or not to file charges against the gunman based on the police investigators’ findings.
“The use of deadly force will be evaluated based on law and the right to protect one’s self or others from great bodily harm or death,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told the Orlando Sentinel.
Police said a juvenile girl who was in the alleged getaway car was struck in the leg by gunfire by fled after the incident. She is being considered a witness in the case, deputies told WFTV.
A third suspect sought in the robbery is still at large, and a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.