BAD -- Mall security guard fired at a shoplifter

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Thread: BAD -- Mall security guard fired at a shoplifter

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down BAD -- Mall security guard fired at a shoplifter

    " If he’s carrying a gun, chances are he’s trained on using it” --

    Hum!

    Mixed reactions from shoppers on shots being fired at Valley View | WSLS 10

    w/ video

    video leader:

    Mixed reactions from shoppers on shots being fired...
    Roanoke City Police are investigating why a security guard, working for a store at the mall, fired a gun shot at a shoplifting suspect. Officers tell us the incident happened in the parking lot...
    Text

    Mixed reactions from shoppers on shots being fired at Valley View

    By Chris Whitley | Digital Journalist
    Published: March 27, 2010
    Updated: March 27, 2010

    ROANOKE - Shoppers are reacting to the incident that happened at Valley View Mall Friday night. Roanoke City Police are investigating why a security guard, working for a store at the mall, fired a gun shot at a shoplifting suspect. Officers tell us the incident happened in the parking lot outside JC Penney around 5 o’clock last night. Officers charged Jared Ware of Christiansburg with shoplifting. Police also say charges are pending against the store security guard.

    Saturday, shoppers had mixed reactions to the incident. “In this day and time you never know whats going to happen with the economy the way it is. I certainly would not have thought somebody would be firing shots around here, it would have scared me for sure”, said Margaret Craig of Roanoke. Richard Bower said, “If the person had a weapon and was shooting at people sure, you gotta do something to stop him. Not for shoplifting, that’s ridiculous.“

    While some were scared and concerned by the shots being fired, others thought the security guard was doing his job. “I’ll tell you straight up, by the time they call the police department this guy is long gone. Then he’s stealing from somebody else, maybe even somebody in the parking lot is getting robbed. If he’s carrying a gun, chances are he’s trained on using it”, said Ethan Dogan.
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    1) What do state laws say on use of force to stop theft?
    2) What action if any by the thief might have forced use of lethal force?
    3) Why was the Mall Security armed? And what training did armed security receive, should have received?
    4) Was armed security an off duty LEO? (not specifically mentioned in story)?

    "Police also say charges are pending against the store security guard."
    I assume that means pending additional investigation of the incident or pending the convening of a GJ.

    Not enough in story to judge--as is usually the case with news reports. It might have been a foot chase that ended badly with thief doing something to cause security guard to fear for his life.

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    Let's give this security guard the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are in.
    There may have been a shoplifter, but was he armed? Did he threaten the guard during the chase...we don't know yet.

    Everyone laughs at unarmed security personnel and how useless they seems against armed dirtbags. Now we have an armed guard who may have been defending his own life and everyone wants to comment about his mistakes without knowing the facts of the case.

    I'm going to wait until there is more info to give my opinion...perhaps, just perhaps this dirtbag deserved getting shot at, we'll see.
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    The use of deadly force (In Delaware at least) is authorized to stop an escaping felon, if there is a good probability that should they escape they may not be caught at a later time. I don't know what felony theft is in VA, or if they allow lethal force to capture an escaping felon.

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    Too many unanswered questions on the story to form an opinion. Simple shoplifting, No, lethal force not justified. If shoplifter had a weapon and made threats, then yes, lethal force would definitely be appropriate.

    Will be interesting to see what the complete story is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Let's give this security guard the benefit of the doubt until all the facts are in.
    There may have been a shoplifter, but was he armed? Did he threaten the guard during the chase...we don't know yet.

    Everyone laughs at unarmed security personnel and how useless they seems against armed dirtbags. Now we have an armed guard who may have been defending his own life and everyone wants to comment about his mistakes without knowing the facts of the case.

    I'm going to wait until there is more info to give my opinion...perhaps, just perhaps this dirtbag deserved getting shot at, we'll see.
    HEY! My minds already made up! Do NOT try to confuse me with the facts!

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    What happened at the instant before the shot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiram25 View Post
    The use of deadly force (In Delaware at least) is authorized to stop an escaping felon, if there is a good probability that should they escape they may not be caught at a later time. I don't know what felony theft is in VA, or if they allow lethal force to capture an escaping felon.
    What is important to know is what happened at the instant before the shot. Security guard may have been attacked when he attempted to retrieve merchandise and the merchandise may have been over whatever the dollar threshold for felony is in that particular state: e.g., an iphone or ipod like device worth more than $200.00; a pair of shoes worth more than $200.00/ whatever their threshold is.

    More likely, BG made threatening moves or gestures, showed some weapon, took a swing.

    We have a very incomplete story and Retsupt is right that the guard should get the benefit of the doubt until we know more.

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    I think I will give the security guard the same benefit of the doubt that this or any other security guard would give me if they thought I did something based on possibly incorrect information. "Guilty until Proven Innocent"

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    This incident has quite a ways to go yet before the end of the story comes out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnow View Post
    This incident has quite a ways to go yet before the end of the story comes out.
    As far as I am concerned if the Guard shot at a unarmed shoplifter he could have missed & hit an innocent bystander I would feel the same if he was a LEO also. If I can't use deadly force to protect my property then a store shouldn't be able to either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    1) What do state laws say on use of force to stop theft?
    2) What action if any by the thief might have forced use of lethal force?
    3) Why was the Mall Security armed? And what training did armed security receive, should have received?
    4) Was armed security an off duty LEO? (not specifically mentioned in story)?
    1. Like many states, the Commonwealth of Virginia allows you to defend yourself with deadly force when faced with an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm.

    In Virginia, a merchant or his agent (including security guards) may use force or threat of force to detain a suspected shoplifter, if the merchant or agent has probable cause. In fact, they are immune from civil liability so long as they have probable cause, do not use unnecessary force, and do not detain the suspect for more than one hour. A merchant or his agent may not use deadly force to effect a shoplifting arrest. Also, a shoplifter may not resist a lawful arrest by a merchant or his agent. Resisting such an arrest constitutes battery.

    Unlike an LEO in Virginia, an armed security guard may not draw his weapon to effect a detention or arrest. He may only draw his weapon when faced with an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm. Anything less than that may result in the armed security guard being charged with brandishing a firearm and, possibly, assault.

    2) See the first paragraph of 1) above.

    3) I don't know why he was armed, but when I was in the industry, I refused to work a security post unless I was armed.

    As for training, a private security guard with armed endorsement in Virginia must undergo at least 40 hours of training approved by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, plus range qualification.

    4) I don't know either. If he was an LEO, the analysis changes because off duty officers in Virginia who moonlight as security guards are still considered LEO. They are required to follow the same laws, rules, and regulations as they would if they were on duty.

    As an aside, armed security guards (technically: "private security guards with armed endorsement") in Virginia are granted statutory authority to make warrantless arrests for crimes committed in their presence. While the Fourth Circuit has said that this is nothing more than codification of the common law "citizens arrest," the reality is that they're wrong. Armed security guards have the ability to arrest for misdemeanors committed in their presence, while average citizens do not have such a right (except for breaches of the peace). This authority is less than LEO, who have authority to make warrantless arrests for crimes not committed in their presence. Also, LEOs are the only ones who may make warrant-based arrests.

    Rob

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    I would love to make some Paul Blart comment (that movie was hillarious if not somewhat painful to watch), but he could have been acting within reason, we just don't know. But this type of sittuation does make you wonder about all the anti's that say only LEO should have guns because they are trained to use them. Granted, security officer is not the same as LEO, but if he was allowed to carry on the job, he had to have some sort of training, right? I guess we'll see how that worked out for him.
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    Member Array mcgyver210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roberev View Post
    a shoplifter may not resist a lawful arrest by a merchant or his agent. Resisting such an arrest constitutes battery.
    Hm seems clear as long as you are really a shoplifter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgyver210 View Post
    Hm seems clear as long as you are really a shoplifter.
    Virginia give a little more "squish" space than many other states when it comes to shoplifting. As long as the merchant or his agent can establish that they had probable cause to think the arrestee was shoplifting, it doesn't matter if the arrestee turns out not to have shoplifted. What's great about the statute is that it grants the merchant and his agent immunity. If there was probable cause, there can be no liability.

    This can create a conundrum for the falsely accused shoplifter who resists arrest. He knows that he didn't shoplift, but if the merchant can establish probable cause, the arrest is privileged and the arrestee technically has no defense for his resistance. This is the part of the immunity statute that, admittedly, is problematic.

    Here's a link to the Virginia liability exemption statute for merchants, for those who may be interested:
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+8.01-226.9

    Rob
    Last edited by roberev; March 28th, 2010 at 08:25 PM. Reason: added link to statute

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