Taking a closer look at our top story from the past week, “Store Clerk Charged after Shooting Theft Suspect,” a store clerk has found himself sitting in jail after turning the tables on a theft suspect in north Nashville, TN. According to police, 44-year-old Jerry Smith, Jr. walked into the store and reportedly brought an 18-pack of beer to the counter. When his credit card was declined, Smith allegedly claimed to have a gun in his jacket pocket and ran out the door with the beer.
The store clerk, 31-year-old Said Hermina, chased after him and allegedly shot Smith in the leg. Smith dropped the case of beer after being shot. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later released.
Hermina is charged with aggravated assault and is being held on $10,000 bond. Smith is charged with misdemeanor theft for allegedly taking the beer, which was valued at $17.99.
This is just one of several recent—and ongoing—incidents that involve store clerks shooting at suspected shoplifters as they are fleeing the scene. For example, in Spanaway, WA, last summer, a convenience store owner was charged with shooting and killing a fleeing shoplifting suspect and was sentenced to eight years in prison. The fatal shooting came approximately one month after the store owner’s wife was wounded by an armed would-be robber when she and the suspect exchanged gunfire.
Many of those involved in these shooting incidents claim that they have the right to defend themselves from these and further incidents, citing other armed thefts where employees have been shot and killed by robbery suspects in similar situations.
Others, including local police in this situation, feel that the clerk committed a criminal act by shooting the suspect as he was fleeing from the store and posed no further risk to the store employee.
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