Osceola County deputies opened fire outside a Target store in Kissimmee, Florida, killing a man over stolen Pokémon cards and pizza.
Officers responded to a call at around 7:00 p.m. last Wednesday from the store’s loss prevention supervisor, who saw two men in masks placing Pokémon cards and a pizza in a bag before walking out, according to an affidavit written by Deputy Cole Miller.
“While on the phone with me, [a Target employee] confirmed the two suspects exited the store without paying for a pizza and multiple packs of Pokemon cards. Target desires prosecution for the theft,” the report reads. “I later reviewed the video surveillance which confirmed the two suspects selected an empty Target shopping bag, multiple packs of Pokemon cards and a pizza; all which were concealed and not paid for by the suspects.”
As the men walked out of the Target store by West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and were about to enter a black Audi, the deputies attempted a “takedown.” The men were identified as Michael Gomez, 18, and Joseph Lowe, 19.
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More than a dozen units responded to the scene. In a news release from the sheriff’s office on Thursday, the police stated they were trying to detain “four suspects” in a “takedown” that resulted in a shooting that left one suspect dead. Police have not elaborated on why they targeted the two additional individuals.
“Contact was attempted with the black Audi by multiple units after circling the parking lot and being occupied by others,” the affidavit reads. “A takedown was attempted which resulted in an officer-involved shooting.”
It is not clear whether the suspects were armed or what events led to the deputies opening fire; however, Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez told FOX 35, “I believe my deputies are justified in all their actions. I have the utmost – 200 percent trust – in everything they do based on their training and their experience. Things escalate. This is the real world.” With an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement still underway, Lopez did provide additional details on the shooting. He confirmed that his deputies involved “are in good health.”
Gomez and Lowe were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and charged with petty theft.
A third suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed but who was shot during the altercation, later died in the hospital. A fourth suspect who was also not identified was reportedly “detained on scene” and suffered a shrapnel wound. The involvement of either remains unclear.