CCW Holder Shoots At Fleeing Shoplifter: Big No! No!?

When a loss prevention Home Depot employee in Auburn Hills, Michigan failed to stop a shoplifter exiting the store, a woman with a concealed carry decided to intervene.

Unfortunately, the woman did not exercise sound judgment when she confronted the suspect who was already in his vehicle fleeing the scene — she opened fire.

“The shoplifter then got into a dark-colored SUV and begin to flee,” says Lt Jill McDonnell of Auburn Hills Police Department.

“The customer, who was a CPL holder, then fired shots at the vehicle,” McDonnell says. “(We) believe they blew out at least one of the tires on the vehicle.”

Police said that instead of firing at the vehicle, the woman should have attempted to record pertinent information and then phone the police.

“Take down information; write down description; wait for police; or call the police department,” McDonnell says.

Investigators are still looking for the suspect and his getaway driver.

“We are looking for two people,” McDonnell says. “The driver of the small black sport utility vehicle with a flat tire was driven by an African-American male in 40s. And then the suspect who fled the store was a white male between 40 and 50 years old, wearing a black T-shirt with yellow writing on it and a black hat.”

As for the permit holder, it’s not clear whether she will face charges for discharging her gun in public.

Obviously, not all the details are known, but based on the available facts it appears she was too quick to pull the trigger. What are your thoughts?

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Scott June 15, 2018, 9:11 am

    Sure the CPL holder should be charged and prosecuted. Her CPL be revoked. She basicly intervened without full knowledge of the situation.

  • JPHamilton October 15, 2015, 11:38 am

    Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)[1], was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
    Graham v. Connor 490 U.S. 386 (1989) was a United States Supreme Court case where the Court determined that an objective reasonableness standard should apply to a civilian’s claim that law enforcement officials used excessive force in the course of making an arrest, investigatory stop, or other “seizure” of his person.

    • brad September 20, 2016, 3:16 pm

      The two cases you cited are 4th amendment cases applying to law enforcement. There are no instances to be found where Graham vs Connor or Tennessee vs Gardner apply to private citizens. Please cite reference where they apply.

  • Randy October 15, 2015, 6:33 am

    I hope she has aquired a good CCW lawyer, in advance. There will be a DA looking to make a name for oneself and put her through the ringer on this one and the outcome may affect all of us law abiding CCW holders.

  • James October 15, 2015, 1:17 am

    Just what the anti-gunners want – Idiot !!!

  • Rollin Shultz October 14, 2015, 12:45 pm

    It is never OK to shoot someone who has not committed or is not in the act of committing a violent crime. She made a mistake, in the heat of the moment. Since no one was hurt, I would advise a fine and possible suspension, but not revoking the permit entirely. If she is brought before a judge, then as a judge I would tell her you have lost the benefit of the doubt, and shown an need for professional training. I would make that her sentence. Currently, permit apllicants are not required to submit to any training and most people either do not need it or seek it on their own, so I would not take a drastic reactionary step of making such training a requirement. I would continue to allow “Benefit of doubt”.

  • Al Joy October 13, 2015, 12:55 pm

    The lady was definitely wrong to have fired her weapon, she probably will lose her permit and I am not defending her actions.
    BUT nowhere does the post say she shot at the thief. From all accounts she shot at the tires, and hit the tires. Had she shot at and hit the thieves she would definitely be facing criminal charges. Most of the responses are based on her shooting to kill, it is too bad the she will face greater charges than the thieves.

  • Bob October 13, 2015, 8:21 am

    Look she fcked up, no question, but everyone seems to be yelling for her permit to be yanked permanently, and or possible jail time. I don’t agree with that, take the permit, make her go through the training again, and then reinstate it. You can’t take someones right to defend themselves over one mistake that no one ended up getting hurt by. Yes she was an idiot. NO reason for deadly force here, but she didn’t know what the story was, for all she knew this guy just killed someone inside the store. I’m giving her the benefit of doubt. More training, and I’m sure this woman will never do anything like this again. But a lifelong ban, or jail? No way, sorry don’t agree with that.

  • George October 12, 2015, 6:26 pm

    For those of you advocating this gal go to jail. WTF?? She needs training on use of force and when it is appropriate. She fortunately didn’t kill anyone but some of you want to burn this gal at the stake. Jail? That’s where I try to put scumbags who commit crimes against others, not decent citizens who got carried away and needs retraining.

    Hey, is she the poster child for CCW? No, not at ALL but really, jail?? I see murderers, rapists, robbers and many other criminals walk on a weekly basis but you guys think this person, who tried (extremely poorly) to do something needs to be in there with them?? How quickly you turn on each other in order to prove how morally superior you are to others. Sad.

  • russell October 12, 2015, 2:47 pm

    No way should this lady have access to a weapon. She has no common sense. Think of the bystanders that could have been hurt. Shooting a shoplifter. We aren’t there yet.

  • davud October 12, 2015, 1:19 pm

    coulda killed some luckless bystander … like another ccw holder who was exercising decent judgment.


  • Dave October 12, 2015, 12:04 pm

    This incident occurred at the Home Depot that I normally shop at and as such, I have carried there many times. Of course I would never consider even drawing a weapon in the circumstances described… This gives CCW holders the bad press that none of us needs.

  • Gary Crispens October 12, 2015, 11:59 am

    She should NEVER have pulled her gun out and opened fire because she was not in a life threatening situation and did not know all of the facts regarding the shoplifters. She should have gotten a good description and pulled out her phone and not her gun. ALWAYS let the police handle police matters unless you are in a life threatening situation with no other option.

  • Dan October 12, 2015, 11:53 am

    No problem she just forgot to say she thought she saw a weapon and was defending herself and others. Doesn’t matter if they had one only the perceived threat.

  • Kalashnikov Dude October 12, 2015, 10:57 am

    OK, I think it’s been established that this was dead wrong. It’s not funny. It’s dangerous, it’s against the law. It does tend to give CCW programs a bad name. Alright, all things considered, I sure would have loved to be a fly on the dashboard of that car. First I would have liked to see that shoplifters face when he heard the shots. And then, being a fly, I might have taken an interest in the resulting pile of crap. Just sayin……..

  • BigC October 12, 2015, 10:37 am

    A CCW does NOT mean you are a law enforcement officer…………no ones life was in danger and this woman had NO RIGHT to endanger bystanders by firing at this vehicle! Her license should be revoked at the very least!!!!

  • To October 12, 2015, 10:29 am

    If the suspect had stopped, would holding them at gunpoint be considered a citizens arrest ?

  • John Q October 12, 2015, 10:20 am

    Fail. ..that is why we are in trouble with ccw holders. Know when it’s ok to engage contact. Fear of life only…no castle law etc
    Better lawyer up lady, next time u wanna be a hero use ur iPhone and take pics of per person and license…big thanks to us ccw holders making it easier for anti gun legislation to pass. Moron

  • MacDaddy October 12, 2015, 10:02 am

    Use of deadly force was definitely not warranted, based on how the media has presented this scenario. The ONLY time you should use deadly force on a fleeing suspect is when you are absolutely certain they intend to continue to harm others. For example, a gunman fleeing a scene with a weapon, after you just saw him use deadly force – and you feel he will continue to use deadly force on others. Even then, you may find yourself in front of a judge/jury, explaining your actions, and potentially face charges, largely depending in which state this occurs. Not presenting her weapon and getting suspect/vehicle descriptions for the police would have been the correct action in this scenario. Always use your firearm as a defensive, life saving tool, not offensive.
    Bottom line – this is a prime example of a lack of proper CCP training. No one truly knows how they will respond in a given CCW situation, until the time comes. Getting proper CCW defensive training and practicing that training routinely, is the only way to help you make the right decision. With great power, comes greater responsibility – learn to use it wisely, or don’t use it at all.
    Find training in your area:

    • John Rodgers December 29, 2017, 8:14 am

      There is no training for common sense, there’s no threat with a person fleeing, anything stolen from store is insured, to dangerous lives at stake

  • Dale H October 12, 2015, 9:12 am

    Ummmm, I am wondering where she took her ccw classes and who taught her. Clearly she missed that day. This falls under Dumb People With CCW permits. The only way she could have been legal is if the shoplifter was shooting at the Home Depot people. Wouldn’t surprise me if the crook sues her. She needs her permit pulled and retrained. If she doesn’t understand what she did was wrong then her permit pulled forever, and it goes on her record.

  • gary66 October 12, 2015, 6:53 am

    she has been given a good deal of precedent of late. LE has adopted the shoot the fleeing suspect and courts have given it “justified” because “they stopped a potentially dangerous person”. This woman has done something that is going to open the pandors’a box. Either what she’s done is going to become the new rule everyone lives by or those who do it are going to prison, including LEO’s. Whatever comes out of this case is going to hang those that follow.

    I agree totally that she did a very wrong thing, but I have said the same with stories of LE doing similar. People have not only lost perspective of the reason to carry and use a weapon, they’re soulless.

    She has more of an excuse/justification for firing, LEO’s have a weapon she hasn’t, a radio and backup, their greatest strength which as of late has been shelved for open fire, just what she did. All she has to say is the guy was driving recklessly and she felt her life was threatened.

    Been waiting for this to happen, now it has. This woman will get a lawyer and use every reason recent LEO’s have used to get the “justified” judgement. If it’s thrown out future reasons will be thrown out, if accepted, more people will foolishly open fire. There’s a word for this, chaos.

    • George October 12, 2015, 6:19 pm

      Your first paragraph is complete and unadulterated nonsense. Police have NOT been given carte blanche to shoot fleeing suspects; the Supreme Court dealt with that way back in 1985 in Tennessee v Garner. It is only lawful to shoot a fleeing felon if “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

      That’s a REALLY high bar to meet for police officers, especially in today’s world. Educate yourself before you speak.

    • Josh October 14, 2015, 1:45 pm

      In my state you can shoot someone to PREVENT a “forcible felony”. I’m pretty sure shoplifting is a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the items stolen. Either way, since the crime had already been committed, shooting the fleeing suspect wouldn’t prevent the crime. She should go to jail for this, and if this incident doesn’t disqualify her for a ccw, then why even bother with licensing requirements or background check? If the background check doesn’t include “has the person unlawfully discharged a firearm in public? If yes, deny” then what’s the point?

  • Bob October 12, 2015, 6:52 am

    As a Retired Police Officer the general Rule for firing a gun at a Person is you believe that your life or the life of another is ask risk of harm, next when a person is fleeing you don’t shoot at them unless there is reasonable reason to believe that the person has committed a serious Felony crime such as aggravated assault, Murder etc and that that person would if not stopped pose an Imminent Danger to the public or has threatened the life of another. This lady should have her permit revoked and be charged with unlawful discharge of a weapon at a minimum.

  • CULLY October 12, 2015, 6:19 am

    CCW permits are too often similar to a student pilot. You know just enough…to be dangerous! Lets get real..the shooter should lose her permit..immediately! As a dedicated CCW person, I don’t care who you are..your color..your politics..your..status..STUPID IS STUPID..!!!

    • W. Volpe October 14, 2015, 3:48 pm


  • Hugo Stiglitz October 12, 2015, 6:11 am

    This kind of nonsense plays right into the hands of gun control nuts. Hard to fix stupid!

  • Brenten Stevens October 12, 2015, 5:17 am

    The woman should have her license revoked ! This is not the unincorporated wild Wild West , she is not a law enforcement officer nor was her life in immediate danger . What was she thinking and what type person would open fire in public like that ? I to hold a license and the laws are constantly in motion . New places to carry or not added or removed every year some new additions means one must constantly keep up . Thank god she did not hit a innocent for that matter thank god she did not hit the driver despite the fact he was a getaway driver it’s not her job to act as a law officer . If she knew her legal position it clearly states the only time you are to act in this way is if a law officer directly request your assistance . As far as I’ve read over the years not one single law officer has ever requested a citizen act in this manner . Her actions require the immediate removal of her license , some and I’m just caculating a thought , might think acting out like this might bring them a hero status in our crazy internet world just for attention . That makes her very dangerous even if she was a past military personnel she had 0 right to open fire on anyone not placing her in immediate danger of loss of her life or severe damage physically . People like this make the majority of licensed carriers look bad in the current political aptomsphere . She fed the gun grabbing politicians their political ammo by acting like a vigilanti .

  • Billy October 12, 2015, 4:43 am

    It’s idiots like these that gives gun rights a bad deal and they should have their permit took.its like the person waited for the chance to shoot at someone and then the Antigun owners jump all over it

  • David J Wilson October 12, 2015, 4:33 am

    This is an absolute no-brainer! Shooting at a moving vehicle is bad in almost any circumstances – but to shoot at a fleeing shoplifter is pure craziness. This woman shouldn’t just have her permit withdrawn – she should go to jail.

  • Angus T October 12, 2015, 1:50 am

    Lifetime revocation of ccw in my opinion and probation for ten years
    Its people like her that make us responsible carriers look bad

  • Angus T October 12, 2015, 1:49 am

    Lifetime revocation of ccw in my opinion and probation for ten years
    Its people like her that make us responsible carriers look bad

  • LHTwist October 9, 2015, 5:13 pm

    Ooch! Sounds like a situation where deadly force was not warranted, just shoplifting and the suspects were fleeing. That’s never a situation where deadly force can be applied.

  • James M. October 8, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Personally I believe ccw/ccp holders should be tested on functionality of their weapon, how to properly disassemble, clean, and reassemble. And incidents like this they should lose their permit and possibly right to carry in general. This lady could have killed someone. Bullets rarely land were they and intended (when shot by someone untrained). Like her. She is lucky she didn’t kill someone. Education, training, practice, repeat until dead.

  • James M. October 8, 2015, 4:12 pm

    WOW… Ummm… No… (Banging head on wall)

  • DRAINO October 8, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Yeeeeeaaaaaaahh….NO. Bad call. I can see her permit being yanked….at least. Trip the guy as he ran….sure! Get his license plate, absolutely! Shooting at them??? In this case…..NO! No one was in danger. This lady could benefit from some use of force training.

    • Keith Stillwagon December 20, 2015, 7:34 pm

      She is damn lucky she didn’t hit and kill the guy. That would be murder. If she is that quick to shoot (lethal force), then it is well that she lost her right to carry before something much worse happened. She may have meant well but she didn’t think well. Sorry lady, but it’s back to pepper spray for you. You are not ready to carry a firearm. ~ Keith Stillwagon

  • Mike October 8, 2015, 12:20 pm

    Shooting somebody to defend your life or somebody else’s life is OK. Shooting somebody because they are running away from somebody else is never going to be OK.
    If the CCW holder had managed to shoot the running suspect, Home Depot not wanting to get involved with the shooting declines to press any charges. Now you have shot a person without even a pretense of a cause.
    Was anybody exercising any common sense here?

    • jimonthebeach October 14, 2015, 12:40 am

      This person has such poor judgement and/or bad training, she should not have a concealed weapons permit. Her permit should be rescinded and she should be prosecuted.

    • RICHARD December 18, 2015, 9:38 am

      The punishment fit the crime!

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