A Florida man arrested for opening fire in a busy Walmart parking lot said he did it to mark a shoplifter’s car so police could track it down.
Jose Manuel Martinez, 35, was charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. No one was injured by gunfire.
Police say the suspected shoplifter, 42-year-old Eddie Mckee, tried to leave a Walmart in Orange City, Fla. Wednesday afternoon without paying for $200 worth of steak and ribs. When a guard tried to stop him, police say Mckee ran out of the store, pushing a woman down on his way out. That’s when Martinez joined in the chase, pulling out his 9 mm handgun when the suspect got in his car.
“He fired at the car a minimum of four times,” Orange City police Cmdr. Jason Sampsell told the newspaper. “He said he didn’t want to kill the suspected shoplifter but wanted to mark the car for police.”
Martinez has a concealed weapons license, according to the News-Journal. He said he didn’t know why the shoplifting suspect was being chased when he joined in. The incident was caught on surveillance camera.
“His life was not in immediate danger so he was not in fear for his life nor was he trying to defend someone else whose life is being threatened,” Sampsell said. “There was no justification for the shooting.”
Martinez defended his actions as he was put into a police car Wednesday.
“He put me in danger, and other people,” he told WOFL-TV.
Martinez said he was injured when the suspected shoplifter tried to run him over with his car. According to the News-Journal, it was determined to be an old injury not suffered during the incident but that Martinez said had been aggravated during the chase.
Mckee was charged with retail theft, according to the newspaper. Both men were booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail, Martinez being held on $7,000 bail and Mckee on $1,000.