ORLANDO — A group of young shoplifters and car-jackers got more than they bargained for at a Pine Hills Walmart this weekend.
According to authorities, four young men exited the Walmart with two shopping carts filled with diapers and were loading them into a maroon Nissan Rogue when store workers confronted them and the situation became tense.
“Some type of commotion occurred at the vehicle as it was being loaded with the stolen merchandise,” reported Sheriff’s Captain Angelo Nieves.
An armed customer responded to the commotion to assist the Walmart personnel.
One of the suspects, a 19-year old man, reached for something and the armed customer “felt threatened,” thinking it might be a gun. He fired his own weapon, wounding the 19-year-old suspect, who later died of his injuries.
Undercutting the sympathy that one might be tempted to have for a young man who felt a need to steal diapers is the unpleasant fact that the Nissan Rogue came into the mens’ possession via a car-jacking three weeks before.
The men fled the scene after the shooting, striking two vehicles in their getaway. The injured man departed the group at some point and made his way to—oddly—a Citgo gas station, from which medical help was presumably sought (ultimately in vain).
The other three men remain at large.
Adding to the overall strangeness of the situation: This isn’t even the first shooting at a Walmart in Pine Hills in the last month.
On January 9th, Markeith Loyd—wanted at the time in connection with the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend—tragically shot and killed Orlando police master sergeant Debra Clayton when she attempted to apprehend him at the Pine Hills Walmart. The debacle brought greater attention to Loyd and led to his swift capture.
More cautious lawbreakers may be tempted to do their shopping at Target going forward.