A Korean-American store owner who shot and killed a suspected thief last year will be serving an eight-year jail term following a recent court decision in Washington.
Devastated family members of 31-year-old Min Sik Kim were left in tears after the judge handed down the sentencing on Friday, reports Kiro 7 news.
Kim, who owns Kim’s Pacific Quick Shop in Spanaway, Washington, shot 21-year-old Jakeel Rashon Mason back in March 2016. Mason was suspected of shoplifting and was trying to flee from the convenience store when he was fired at by Kim.
The incident came just a month after Kim’s wife, Seul Lim, sustained a gunshot wound from exchanging gunfire with an armed would-be robber. The suspects from the shooting were caught.
Kim would face a similar situation a month later, court documents revealed. After briefly going outside his store to shoo away loiterers, he caught Mason going into the store and then trying to steal cigarettes behind the counter.
Kim pulled out a gun as he walked back in, prompting Mason to put his hands up. The store owner then backed him up against one of the store shelves.
After Kim tucked the gun into his waistband, he reportedly punched Mason in the face, which then ignited a momentary scuffle as Mason struggled to escape.
“I was down and he was on top of me and he was trying to reach my gun,” Min Kim was quoted as saying by Komo News in 2016.
Mason dashed towards the door and even managed to grab a pack of cigarettes on his way out. Kim then got up from the ground, pulled out his gun and shot him twice in the back, prosecutors said.
“I did not have the right to take Mr. Mason’s life or anyone else’s life,” Min Kim told the court on Friday. “I feel terrible that I did so and will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
According to his wife, the previous assault on her took a heavy toll on Kim.
“I was shot by a robber and after that my husband struggled in fear of losing me,” Lim Kim was quoted on Friday.
Presiding Judge John Hickman noted, however, that while he agreed it was a tough situation, deadly force was not warranted in such a case.
Kim said he would accept the court’s sentencing and even asked the judge for permission to write a letter of apology to Mason’s family members who did not attend the court session.