Orange City Walmart customer shoots at suspected shoplifter

By Shaun Chaiyabhat, Reporter, schaiyabhat@clickorlando.com
Published On: Feb 27 2013 01:31:27 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 01 2013 07:10:34 AM EST

A man arrested for opening fire in a busy Walmart parking lot said he was trying to stop a shoplifter and is now defending his actions.

ORANGE CITY, Fla. -

A man arrested for opening fire in a busy Walmart parking lot said he was trying to stop a shoplifter and is now defending his actions.

Orange City police arrested Jose Martinez, 35, after they said he unleashed at least five bullets in the parking lot of the Walmart on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Martinez told Local 6, he was defending himself from a shoplifter who nearly ran him over and injured him.

"The guy put me in danger and other people," said Martinez as police hauled him off to jail Wednesday evening. "He tried to run me over."

But police said Martinez only was bumped by the shoplifter's getaway car because he was chasing after the car and even tried to open the door to the moving vehicle before he opened fire.

Eddie McKee, 42, was caught shoplifting groceries at the Walmart and took off when security confronted him, knocking down a woman, according to police.

Several other people chased after the alleged shoplifter, Eddie McKee, and another man was armed but he never drew his gun. McKee was arrested in DeLand shortly after.

Police said McKee then jumped in his car and took off, but bumped into another car in the parking lot, that's when police say bullets started flying.

"If the shoplifter was an aggressor towards him, then yes. If he wasn't, then no, he shouldn't have discharged his firearm," said Tasha Olkowski.

"I saw one black gentleman running from the parking lot, he dove in his car. And there were two older gentlemen chasing him down. One drew a gun, ripped open the guys car door and screamed, 'Freeze, freeze, don't move!' And then fired shots," said one 911 caller.

As the bullets hit the getaway car -- piercing the trunk and shattering the back window -- police said bullets also hit at least two other cars.

Martinez said to Local 6, he thought nobody else was in danger by his gunfire and he was surprised police arrested him. Martinez started opening fire because he said he wanted to mark the suspect's car as he fled from the scene. He has his concealed weapons permit but has been charged with two felonies, aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

After reviewing store security video, police said Martinez's story doesn't add up. They believe he was never in danger because the shoplifter was driving away from him and everyone else.

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