It's no doubt a stiff price to pay for just a few 12 packs of beer. But in this case, our legal expert says the clerk may have the law on his side.
The suspected thief -- identified by the Harris County medical examiner's office as Troy Rector -- was shot and killed by the clerk outside a convenience store on Elgin near Dowling. Houston police are referring this case to a grand jury to decide whether to charge the clerk. He has not been arrested at this point or charged with any crime.
Inside the convenience store on Friday afternoon, it was business as usual. But on Thursday night, however, police say the clerk on duty opened fire on a customer stealing beer.
One of the clerk's co-workers, M.D. Nasimuzzaman, said, "He did not want to kill him. He just shoot into the sky."
Nasimuzzaman was not on duty, but after the shooting, he talked to the clerk who was. He says Rector was stealing beer had done it before, and that the clerk Thursday night said the man was combative this time as he tried to rip off the store again. At one point, Rector reportedly put the beer down to challenge the clerk to a fight before picking it up and walking out.
It's not clear what the circumstances were when the clerk pulled the trigger, but police say Rector was shot outside the store. His body was located in a grassy area just feet from its front door.
Eyewitness Sheemeka Brown said, "I just seen the man dead."
Brown says she found the body and called 911. She didn't see any weapon by that man.
"They could have said, 'just put the beer down' and let him walk out the store," Brown said. "They didn't have to shoot the man."
Others have less empathy for those allegedly caught doing something wrong.
"Sometimes you get caught," customer Donna Winters said. "Things like that happen."
There are several surveillance cameras both inside and outside the store. Those who work here say investigators are now reviewing surveillance video.