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Unbelievably Another Shoplifting Death at Walmart


An accused shoplifter at a Houston area Walmart was fatally shot on December 6, 2012. A Harris County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed the suspect who was trying to flee from the store. Store security allegedly observed a group of women placing items inside their purses and notified an off-duty deputy, Louis Campbell, who was working as store security as a side-job. One of the women, Shelly Frey, allegedly struck Campbell upon being confronted and Campbell chased her into the parking lot. When she got into a car, Frey opened the door and commanded them to stop after which point the car drove off and Campbell started shooting at the fleeing suspects. A bullet struck Frey in the neck which later killed her.

What makes this story so tragic is that it comes less than a month after an accused shoplifter in Lithonia, Georgia was killed for allegedly taking some DVD's. In New York, although physical force may be used to stop a shoplifter, deadly force cannot be used to protect property. Additionally, deadly physical force may not be used in the arrest of an unarmed, non-dangerous, felling suspect. I'd hate to imagine a society that authorized a store security guard, acting on limited information and adrenaline, to shoot at a fleeing suspect. Still, a rush to judgment can be tempting from the point of view of the accuser which creates a constant threat to our constitutional rights.