Police: Man outside Walmart shot in self-defense; suspected shoplifters' vehicle found, no arrests yet

Nathan Baker • Updated Jan 30, 2018 at 7:57 AM

Johnson City police say a 54-year-old man acted in self-defense Friday morning when he shot at a vehicle in a shopping center parking lot after a scuffle with a man he believed was shoplifting.

No arrests have been made in the reported aggravated assault and shoplifting outside the Walmart store at 2915 W. Market St., but the Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in the incident was found in Bristol, Virginia. It was reported stolen from Bristol, Tennessee, before the supercenter shooting.

According to the report filed by Johnson City Police Department Officer Kendra Puckett, John Jenkins was waiting outside the store in his pickup truck at 8 a.m. Friday while his family shopped. Jenkins reportedly told the officer he saw a white man exit the garden center with a shopping cart full of unbagged merchandise he assumed was stolen.

Jenkins got out of his truck and confronted the man as he put the merchandise into the Jeep, which was parked in front of Jenkins’ vehicle. The two men scuffled, and Puckett said the white man left the remaining merchandise in the shopping cart and got into the back seat of the SUV.

Lt. Kevin Peters, a Johnson City police investigator, said Jenkins said a black man in the driver’s seat of the Jeep flashed a handgun during the altercation. In Puckett’s report, she said the driver pulled out what was believed to be a handgun as the Jeep backed out of the parking space and pointed it at Jenkins.

Jenkins, a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit holder, drew his Taurus PT 24/7 and fired one shot at the vehicle.

A witness to the struggle and shooting, Mohamed Farrouki, 39, followed the Cherokee onto West Market and then McKinley Road. The driver then reportedly pulled over, pointed a handgun at Farrouki and told him to stop following the vehicle.

Peters said police consulted with District Attorney General Tony Clark’s office and decided Jenkins fired in self-defense.

There was no evidence the shot hit the Jeep when officers found it, Peters said, so it’s unclear where the bullet went. No injuries or vehicle damage were reported in the Walmart parking lot.

A .40-caliber casing found at the scene and Jenkins’ gun were collected as evidence.

The merchandise police said was left behind, which included children’s learning tablets, toys, headphones, remote-controlled drones, picture frames, shoes, underwear, socks, jeans and shirts, was valued at $1,337. The total did not include merchandise police said the white man was able to load into the vehicle before Jenkins’ intervention.

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