Police: Pawn shop manager shoots shoplifter

American Pawn manager: 'It was either my life or his life, so I shot him'

By Jacey Birch - Anchor/Animal Advocate

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - Surveillance video captured the moment when a pawn shop manager in North Miami shot a shoplifter after the pair and another man fought over a gun.

The shooting happened at American Pawn in the 13000 block of Northwest 7th Avenue about 12:47 p.m. Tuesday.

WATCH: Surveillance video

"It was either my life or his life, so I shot him," said Joelle, the manager of American Pawn, who didn't give his last name.

According to North Miami Police, Joelle confronted the shoplifter, who was armed. Joelle said he and his friend patted the shoplifter down and found a gun and stolen $50 drill.

"When I searched, I found he had a gun. I took the gun away from him," said Joelle.

Randy, the manager's friend who was inside the store at the time, and Joelle weren't concerned about the drill.

"He goes, 'What's that in your pocket?' He says, 'Oh, that's just my gun.' The kid goes, 'That's just my gun,'" said Randy. "The moment he said that, the owner grabbed the gun, aimed it at him, said, 'Get down on the ground.'"

A fight then began between the shoplifter, the manager, and another customer over the gun after the man took it back.

"He started crying and started fighting with us about the gun and wrestled all the way out here with the gun," said Joelle.

The fight spilled outside into the parking lot. The three men continued to fight as the shoplifter held onto his gun.

"We hear the gun load. We hear him cock the gun, so we know he's about to shoot the weapon and he overpowered me and Joelle and he dragged both of us out to the middle of the street here," said Randy.

Joelle and Randy said they tried to hold the shoplifter until police arrived, but were scared he was going to shoot them. Joelle then pulled out his own gun and shot the shoplifter.

"I hear a gun go off but I'm holding him. My whole body is encasing him," said Randy. "I don't know how he got shot. I didn't feel anything. I was scared for my life. I thought I was the one shot."

The shoplifter was shot in the back, said police. He then took off running down NW 7th Avenue.

After a search with K-9 units throughout the neighborhood, police found the shoplifter, a man in his 20s, in a shed behind a home just a block and a half away from the pawn shop. He was taken into custody and transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Authorities said the shoplifter is expected to recover from non-life threatening injuries.

The young man will be arrested after he is treated and charges against him are pending, police said.

"It's a young kid and I wish someone would help him," said Joelle. "You know, I feel bad for him."

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