Home Depot Customer Opens Fire on Alleged Shoplifters

Via The Detroit News:  Customer fires at Auburn Hills shoplifting suspects

Police responding to a “shots fired” call at a Home Depot store said a customer apparently tried to stop a shoplifter by firing at a fleeing vehicle.

The incident occurred at 2 p.m. at the store on Joslyn, according to a police press release.

A 47- year-old Clarkston woman in the parking lot witnessed one of the store’s loss prevention officers trying to stop a shoplifting suspect getting into a dark colored SUV. The customer — identified as a concealed pistol license holder — reportedly fired shots at the dark-colored SUV as it sped out of the lot.

It’s unknown how many rounds were fired from her 9mm handgun, but police believe she hit and flattened one of the vehicle’s rear tires as it sped off in the direction of Brown Road.

It was not known if anyone was injured in the incident. The customer remained on the scene and was cooperating with police. A report is to be turned over to the county prosecutor for review of possible charges, if any, on the woman.

Call me crazy, but I would rather let shoplifting suspects escape than run the risk of innocent bystanders being hit by stray bullets.  I am sure that the owners of the stolen items feel the same way.  What is more likely to hurt business?  A successful shoplifting incident or a dead customer?

Life is not an action movie and having  a gun does not turn one into a sharpshooter (and, I would note, that I can’t imagine a trained law enforcement officer discharging a weapon in this context).

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR08 says:

    A woman? So presumably it wasn’t Jack.

    This is where Second Amendment absolutism and the gun culture inevitably lead us, Doug.

  2. Dave D says:

    This is just another good guy with a gun.

    Houston police say that an armed man’s attempt to stop a carjacking went terribly wrong on Saturday night when he shot the vehicle’s owner in the head, then fled the scene.

  3. KM says:

    review of possible charges, if any, on the woman

    What the hell? There better be charges! Discharge of a weapon in public is a huge safety concern and definitely falls under legal statutes! This isn’t a Stand Your Ground or Castle basis, she wasn’t even involved until she dealt her Dirty Harry wannabe self in. If the prosecutor doesn’t have the balls to do it, somebody in that parking lot should sue the daylights out of her ! And since she’s not longer a “law-abiding citizen” with her blatant disregard for the law, that means she forfeits any support from the NRA and their ilk. Right?

    Additionally, “suspect”. So they weren’t even sure they shoplifted (store security isn’t always right on these things) and she intervened? Wouldn’t it be a bitch to find out it was someone falsely suspected and now they can get her on attempt assault and property damage?

  4. C. Clavin says:

    If I ran a business I would sure as shit prohibit guns because I don’t think you can prohibit idiots.

    For sure…this is exactly what idiots like Jack want. They see themselves as Eastwood or Bronson or Chuck Norris (in onesy’s). They are simply too stupid to grasp that those are fictional characters and the world would be chaos if that fiction ever actually came to life…like it did at this Home Depot.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    People who buy guns do so in the hope that some day they’ll have an excuse to kill someone. That’s the fantasy. They want to be heroes. They want to be important. That’s why it’s a waste of time arguing facts with them – they’re insignificant people who crave significance and think they’ll get it from a gun. Take Jack’s gun away and what have you got left?

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    And by the way, the leaders of the Republican Party are no smarter…encouraging people to run into a hail of gunfire.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Take Jack’s gun away and what have you got left?

    Leaves me wondering what you have before you take it away?

  8. James Pearce says:

    I will be very surprised if this lady faces any charges…

    Law enforcement will come down on you if you use your gun to kill the squirrels eating the pumpkins in your garden. They will come down on you if you shoot your gun into the air in celebration. Target shooting in your backyard? Uh, no.

    But shoot your gun at a criminal? They love that shit. High fives and commendations all around.

    If, by some miracle, they actually charge her, would a jury convict her?

  9. Moosebreath says:

    @C. Clavin:

    “If I ran a business I would sure as shit prohibit guns because I don’t think you can prohibit idiots.”

    You can, but you would reduce your customer base too greatly.

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: A disappointed RWNJ and the start of a sewer grate. A fair trade if ever I saw one.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Moosebreath: Many businesses prohibit guns including my workplace (where I suspect people cheat) and Starbucks. I haven’t noticed my wait for a latte getting any shorter since they announced the ban.

  12. MikeSJ says:

    I’d like to know how many bullets she fired and where those bullets ended up. In parked cars? In neighbors houses?

    Good God, she’s lucky no one got killed.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If I ran a business I would sure as shit prohibit guns because I don’t think you can prohibit idiots.

    I’ve been trying to point out the need for actionable plans as opposed to identifying and punishing the guilty. Thank you for the very concise example.

  14. stonetools says:

    Heh, I notice that the usual suspects are not popping up to defend this “good woman with a gun” who is acting out her Dirty Harry fantasy. The reality :

    Vigilantes are dangerous to just about everyone but the active shooter

    The would be heroes couldn’t even get the gun out of their holster, shot themselves, or stood up and got themselves shot.
    Luckily, this didn’t happen here.But had the shoplifter had a gun…

  15. al-Ameda says:

    And, that’s your Second Amendment at work.

    What a treat it must have been to be just another unarmed Home Depot customer in that parking lot when all of this idiocy went down.

    It does reinforce one thing though, if everyone in that parking lot had been armed and carrying a weapon more than one tire on that fleeing vehicle would have been flattened.

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Take Jack’s gun away and what have you got left?

    Another free hand for operating one of the 3 remote control devices for your typical home entertainment big flatscreen TV and auxiliary devices?

  17. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I once worked with a guy who had extreme Dirty Harry fantasies. He’ d applied to a number of police departments, and in every case, flunked the psychological exams. Same when he applied to be a campus cop.

    I’ve also known a number of cops,and the last thing they wanted was to get involved in a shooting. Presumably they all passed the psychological exam.

  18. Gustopher says:

    Is it a good thing or a bad thing that there were no other “good guys with guns” in the parking lot, who might have reacted to the gunshots in the parking lot?

    I think they would have been better justified in shooting the person shooting a gun in the parking lot, than the person shooting at people leaving the parking lot.

  19. Bookdragon says:

    Yeah, if anyone else in that lot had been armed, I doubt they’d have noticed the shoplifter vehicle. Everyone would be aiming to take out the nutcase active shooter before she plugged anyone.

  20. Mikey says:

    I used to live close to where this happened. It’s one of Detroit’s more well-off suburbs, and probably one of the lowest-crime cities for its size in the entire country. Petty crime like shoplifting is about as bad as it gets there. Why this woman thought it necessary to carry a gun in the first place is a bit mystifying.

    But then Michigan doesn’t make it particularly difficult to get a concealed-carry license, so I guess any goober with a hero fantasy and a few bucks can go around armed.

  21. motopilot says:

    @KM: And since she’s not longer a “law-abiding citizen” with her blatant disregard for the law, that means she forfeits any support from the NRA and their ilk. Right?

    I would hope, at the very least, she would lose her license to carry, resigned to keeping it in her home.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    I have this mental image of some movie theater in Texas. A gun falls on the floor and discharges. And the whole theater erupts with “good guys with guns” shooting each other and every other innocent person in the place. You know, we used to have towns exactly like the NRA nuts fantasize about. It was called the ‘Wild West’. And the first thing they did when they wanted to bring the death rate down was ban the guns.

  23. Moosebreath says:


    “Many businesses prohibit guns”.

    I know. I was responding to Cliffy’s suggestion of banning idiots. There’s just too many of them.

  24. JKB says:

    So many rushing to comment but without any real knowledge. Did you learn nothing from the Ferguson shooting? Perhaps the fact that it is unlawful to discharge a firearm after a fleeing individual, even for police. The police do have the exception if they have knowledge the person is an immediate threat to others, such as a spree killer going after family, and there are no other means available, such as other police cordoning off the area.

    So this woman could end up facing felony charges and with the facts presented has no means to assert a justifiable defense. But this is one individual who in a moment made a poor decision regarding the use of her firearm and now likely will become a prohibited person and possible jail time.

  25. @MarkedMan: Except that towns in the real Wild West had tight gun control.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    One person…among many…that make poor decisions with lethal weapons every single fwcking day.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: No one seems to comment on the thing I find most objectionable about Carson’s charge the shooter statement. As tactical advice, it’s actually good. As a criticism of the victims in Oregon, who were confronted with a lethal threat completely out of the blue, it’s despicable. But how is he allowed to brag he’d react heroically without people laughing at his braggadocio? Is there any evidence of physical bravery in his past? How does he get away with “I’d be a hero. I’d be such a yoooge hero. You’d be amazed at how heroic I’d be.” Next thing you know, he’ll be sporting a bad comb over.

  28. gVOR08 says:
  29. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Yes, it’s amazing how we’re all Dirty Harry heroes in the recesses of our own minds.

    In reality, we’d probably all panic.

    Unless you have trained, over and over and over again, you’re not going to have the “hero” habits. Heck, in the two car accidents I’ve been in, the best I was able to do is slow the car down without further skidding, let alone some wondrous slaloming around the obstacles like some race car driver. One reason why pilots practice and practice and practice things like stalls and dead engines and all the other stuff that can happen to you in the air. So that you don’t panic and you know what to do.

    But jumping at a deranged gunman? Where’s the practice regs for that?

  30. jd says:

    Modelling a theater full of gun-toting customers:

  31. KM says:


    So many rushing to comment but without any real knowledge.

    So this woman could end up facing felony charges and with the facts presented has no means to assert a justifiable defense.

    Because there is no justified defense given what we know and it would take some serious game-changer facts to alter first impressions. She was not defending herself or another. She was not defending her home or property. She was completely un-involved in this whole thing and decided to intervene of her own free will. She can’t claim that she was security or Neighborhood Watch; she’s not ex-military or off-duty cop to the best of my knowledge. She can’t even claim she was worried they were going to hurt others since she saw no evidence of violence (no gun or assault on others) on their part and they were fleeing. She can’t claim fear for her life or body since she was a good distance away and they didn’t even know she existed till she shot at them!

    This woman decided that the commission of a non-violent crime warranted a violent response in a crowd. She’s violated a ton of the training and stipulations that goes with CPL and there are a vast amount of CPL holders and trainers loudly denouncing her. She discharged her weapon in public with lethal intent. Any shred of legal cover she has is a fig leaf at best. She is a bad gun owner. Other then reflexively defending a fellow member of the tribe or jabbing at “libs”, why are you complaining about a rush to judgement? What possible facts do you think will mitigate this?

  32. KM says:

    @gVOR08 @grumpy realist:

    I fence. I regularly charge men twice my size with non-sharp swords and get impressive bruises that have people giving me domestic violence pamphlets. When I explain my latest deep blue upper arm decoration, there’s some inevitable comment on how brave I am and that they don’t think they could do it. New students quake when hit for the first time and they realize it freaking hurts. There’s a maneuver they all default to when attacked my coach refers to as the Oh Shit Five since it’s a panicky, reflexive, usless block that vague resembles a parry 5. I am covered in safety gear, this is not an actual fight and it still takes some nerve to challenge the 6ft 3 overly muscled giant who I know WILL leave a mark. I’ve taken martial arts that require less bravado then being attacked with something that can impale you. A broken foil can slice you bad enough to cut tendons and require over 30 stitches (god, that was a bloody mess).

    This ^^? This is a sport. This isn’t for keeps.

    It’s so easy to say run to the gunfire, face down your attacker. But when that blade’s coming right for your face, that barrel’s pointed at your skull… you freak. Hopefully, you have enough training to stay calm and muscle memory to carry you through. A-holes like Carson talk like that because they’ve never had to make that decision when it counts. Talking ain’t doing. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it’s powering through it. Carson should be ashamed of himself.

  33. stonetools says:


    Note that this woman was a law abiding, responsible, “good ” gun owner until the moment she fired her weapon. Now of course you’ve thrown her under the bus, although she would say in her defense that she was trying to be a “good person with a gun” like that guy in Texas who shot the vehicle owner in the head.
    If this incident doesn’t establish the case for mandatory training and licensing of anyone who wants to own a gun, nothing will.

  34. KM says:

    So I stand corrected – Carson’s been involved in a hold up before. And what did Mister Wannabe BadAss Go Tackle the Gunman do?

    “I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,’” Carson said.

    He redirected the aim of the gunman to another innocent person instead of trying to take the gunman down but has the nerve to criticize actual gunshot victims for not being brave. What. An. Asshole.

  35. PT says:

    so, she loses her right to bear arms, yes? You know, for the whole being a complete and utter idiot thing.

  36. gVOR08 says:


    What. An. Asshole.

    An asset in seeking the Republican nomination.