Witness: Store owner pulled gun on kids

A woman says the owner of this Texas City store pulled a gun on a group of young kids whom he suspected of shoplifting.

January 17, 2011 3:28:58 PM PST
Texas City police are looking into claims that a convenience store clerk locked the front door of the store and pointed a gun at a group of kids that he suspected were shoplifting. Police say there is no evidence that the children were shoplifting, but according to adult witnesses on Friday afternoon, there is at least a suggestion that store owner may have overreacted. Now police are involved.

On school days, afternoons are rush hours at the T and T Food Mart and the store owner, who asked not to be identified, claims that's when kids begin shoplifting candy and sodas. Friday afternoon, he says it happened again.

Police say four elementary school children claim they were detained, locked in the store, and an eight-year-old girl claims he pulled a gun on the children.

"Nobody lock it, nothing gun, because I can't lock it," the store owner said. "You see how customers come in and out. We can't lock it."

But a customer in the store at the time, an adult who also asked she not be identified, backs up the girl's account.

"By then that man started hollering, 'You wanna die? You wanna die? I'll kill you! I'll kill you!' He went behind that counter and he got a gun," the woman recalled. "It was a big black gun with a little thing on it. I ain't lying! He did, because that tripped me out."

The owner never called police. The witness did, as well as the mother of the eight-year-old girl. Texas City police confirm Friday evening, they took the owner's gun, a loaded Glock, into evidence. The child will be interviewed by investigators this week.

"It could be an aggravated assault that he threatened someone with a weapon," explained Texas City Police Captain Brian Goetschius. "But we just need to let it unfold. Hopefully we can find out the truth and we'll take it from there."

Police want to see surveillance video from the store at the time of the incident. The store owner says that video does not exist because the camera doesn't record.