Up to six armed civilians reportedly pulled their guns on shoplifters at a farm and ranch supply store in Marysville, Washington, and several opened fire as the suspects tried to get away. The incident led to the arrest of two men who were allegedly trying to shoplift tools.
"There were shots fired in this parking lot at Coastal Farm & Ranch, so obviously that generated a large police response," Marysville Police Department Cmdr. Mark Thomas told KIRO.
Police say two shoplifters, Maxfield Allen, 22, and Matthew Foster, 23, took four nail guns worth more than $400 each on Sunday.
Authorities said Allen and Foster ran to a green Honda Civic in the parking lot and got in. As many as six customers surrounded the car and pulled out their guns.
“One of them stood in front of the car and drew his sidearm and had it in the low ready position,” Thomas said.
According to court documents, that civilian heard one of the suspects say, “He won't shoot. Run him over.”
“The car left and struck (one of the customers), causing him to fall,” Thomas said.
As the suspects sped away, Marysville police said two other citizens fired into the tires of the vehicle, flattening both tires on the driver side. Foster and Allen ditched the car a few blocks away, according to authorities. K-9 units found them hiding in the area, and they were arrested and charged with robbery in the first degree.
Police are seeking to speak with the civilians who opened fire.
“We don't know (if they are in trouble) yet. Certainly they could've been acting lawfully,” Thomas said. “But if it's important enough to fire a weapon at a moving vehicle in a crowded parking lot, it's certainly important enough to stay behind to (talk to) officers who are going to be investigating the case.”
Court documents say one of the men admitted they were stealing tools and selling them to support their drug habits.
“This is a really good example of how a shoplift turned into a robbery that turned into a shots fired call,” Thomas said.
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