Vigilante justice: KC man shoots shoplifter, walks free

Being shot for stealing lamb chops may not be acceptable, but how about trying to run over the store manager?

From Raw Story:

Is being shot an acceptable penalty for shoplifting?

Consider this scenario: A woman steals a bag of meat from a supermarket. As she makes her getaway, a private citizen — a “vigilante” or a “good samaritan” depending on whom you ask — shoots her in the shoulder and neck with a 9-mm handgun. The woman is charged with robbery; the “good samaritan” walks free.

Sound strange? It may be, but under Missouri law, it would seem that’s just how things work.

According to court documents, 41-year-old Loucinda Carroll allegedly walked out of a Sun Fresh supermarket in Independence, Missouri, with a bag of meat that she hadn’t paid for. When the store manager followed her into the parking lot, Carroll allegedly struck her with her car, and the store manager ended up hanging on to the hood as she tried to make her getaway.

That’s when 37-year-old Bill Miller, who had witnessed the altercation, pulled his car into the path of Carroll’s vehicle. When she didn’t stop, he pulled out a 9-mm pistol — for which he had a Utah concealed-carry permit — and shot Carroll in the shoulder and neck.

Now, Carroll is charged with second-degree robbery, but no charges are pending against Miller. And it may be that Missouri law requires it to be that way.

According to the Kansas City Star, “under Missouri law, people can use deadly force if they feel their life or the lives of others are in danger or they are in danger of suffering serious physical injuries.”

Now, there is some doubt as to whether or not Miller could have reasonably feared for his life. Miller “felt he and the manager were being threatened,” the Star reports, but court documents show “the woman tried to drive around his vehicle,” so it’s hard to see how this shoplifter was a threat to this bystander.

But it may not matter, because Miller may have had all the reason he needed to shoot: He suspected that the life of the store manager was in danger.

According to the Fox affiliate in Kansas City, Miller has no regrets.

“These criminals got to be stopped,” he told the TV station.

Although police and prosecutors haven’t confirmed to the press that they won’t charge Miller, Miller told the Fox affiliate that police told him he won’t face charges.

Not everyone agrees that justice has been served in this case. Kansas City blogger Midtown Miscreant points out that Miller’s actions were dangerous, and could have resulted in innocent people being harmed — a notion backed up by Carroll’s son, who talked to the Kansas City CBS affiliate.

“What if the lady on the hood [the store manager] had been the one in the wrong?” asked Carroll’s son, Michael Barajas. “He’d have shot the wrong lady.”

“What if there had been a kid in a child restraint in the car?” Midtown Miscreant asks. “If it happened like [Miller] says, maybe he wouldn’t have noticed…”

Additionally, the blogger wonders why the store manager and Miller even wanted to get personally involved.

“Ever hear of getting a tag number, a description, calling 911? Apparently someone slept through class when they explained how lamb chops weren’t worth dying for.”

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One Response

  1. And if the manager had fallen off the hood and then been ran over and killed would these same critics still be saying what they are now? Calling 911 with a tag number and description would not have helped one iota…

    There are an awful lot of “what if’s” out there. But those were not the case apparently.

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