A small business owner may find himself in a legal battle after shooting at three men who robbed his cookie store inside a Memphis mall on Wednesday, local media reported.
The three men took off with $45, but not before the store owner chased them out and fired several shots from his 9mm, and in turn put him in the hot seat as he violated the mall’s no firearms policy.
While the store owner had a valid firearms permit and therefore had every right to carry the gun, he was in violation of the law by having it at work, where the mall has a very strict policy against firearms. In fact, even the 13 security guards that patrol the mall property do not even carry firearms.
The strict policy came about after a security guard was shot and killed by a gang member in 2010 after apparently attempting to break up a fight at the mall.
One shopper, Carolyn Smith, said that crime has escalated at the mall in recent years despite the mall’s efforts at revitalization and attempting to restore it to a family-friendly environment. And following the cookie store robbery this week, some are more focused on the effect that the store owner had on that image than on the actual robbery itself.
Memphis City Council member Harold Collins said that while store owners have the right to defend their property, rash decisions are often not made out of good judgment.
“Do you fault him for exercising that kind of judgement? Of course you do,” Collins said. “There ought to be penalties for that, I’m hoping there will be.”
“When you have a community that has the reputation and the good things going on in Whitehaven, people will take the opportunities to take advantage of people,” Collins explained.
Smith, who noted that the mall contains a rising number of young people who are up to no good, stated that going after $45 that was stolen from the store owner wasn’t worth the possible risk to others or damaging the reputation of the area.
“Being that they’re trying to rebuild this area, we don’t need that,” Smith said, referring to the store owner firing the gun, not the robbery.
At this point it is unclear whether or not the store owner will face any charges however, his gun permit was taken by police and he was cited for firing a gun within the city limits.
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