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Police in Auburn Hills, Michigan are investigating whether or not to charge a conceal carry permit holder who opened fire at alleged shoplifters at a Home Depot store.
According to The Detroit News, the 47-year-old woman was watching from the store’s parking lot on Tuesday as a loss prevention officer appeared to be trying to stop a shoplifter. When the suspects tried to flee in a dark SUV, the woman pulled out her concealed 9mm handgun and began shooting.
According to the station, eyewitnesses who called a local radio station Wednesday said the woman fired three times at the suspect's car, spacing out her shots to take aim.
This incident comes just a couple of weeks after an incident in Warren, a city about 23 miles away, where a 63-year-old man with a concealed pistol permit opened fire and hit a bank robbery suspect.
In both instances, police reportedly said the person with the permit who opened fire cooperated with them afterward.
And experts interviewed Wednesday doubted the shooting could have been justified.
“It’s my worst nightmare as a CPL instructor,” said Doreen Hankins, owner of Detroit Arms, which holds CPL classes. “You have to know the entire situation before you pull that handgun out. And I don’t see that a shoplifter at Home Depot fills any of those criteria.”
To use a concealed weapon in Michigan, a CPL holder needs to think that there is an imminent danger of death, great bodily harm or sexual assault, or think there is a similar danger to someone else, said Rick Ector, a firearms trainer who runs Legally Armed Detroit. He added that a gun is “truly a tool of last resort.”
“In that situation personally, there’s no way I would be shooting my gun,” said another instructor, Dawn Martin, with the Kalamazoo-based Viper Security Enforcement Inc.
CPL holders who misuse their guns could face a wide range of charges — among them felony firearm, reckless use of a firearm and felonious assault.