A convenience store owner who shot and killed a would-be shoplifter who was trying to flee the premises has been sentenced to more than 8 years behind bars after police insisted that the owner was not physically threatened at the time of the shooting.
The deadly run-in took place at the Pacific Quick Shop in Spanaway, Washington, where 31-year-old Min Kim fatally shot 21-year-old Jakeel Rashon Mason in the back after he tried to steal a pack of cigarettes, Q13 Fox reported.
“I’m here to take responsibility for my actions in taking Mason’s life,” Kim said during his Friday sentencing after having previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. “I accept the consequences. I did not have the right to take his life.”
Kim originally told police that he felt that his life was threatened at the time of the shooting. But after investigators reviewed the surveillance footage, they found that it did not corroborate with his story.
That day, Kim went outside of his shop to tell a group of men loitering on his property to leave. While he was not watching, Mason could be seen on CCTV footage trying to steal cigarettes from behind the counter.
When Kim goes back inside, he can already be seen holding a handgun. He then points the gun at Mason – who has his hands up – and forces him into the store. Kim then holsters the gun before punching Mason in the face, resulting in a scuffle that sees Mason wrestle Kim to the ground.
Moments later, Mason freed himself and tried to flee the store, but Kim pulled out his gun and shot him twice in the back. He died before emergency medical responders could arrive.
“The use of deadly force, when your own safety is not threatened, does not justify shooting someone in the back,” said Pierce County Superior Court Judge John Hickman during sentencing.