Cops: Suspected diaper thief fatally shot at Walmart was gang member

3rd person sought in fatal shooting

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies said a man who was fatally shot at Walmart while trying to steal a shopping cart full of diapers was a documented gang member.

Deputies responded to a call at 8:12 a.m. about a shooting at a Walmart and a person with gunshot wounds at a Citgo gas station on Clarcona Ocoee Road.

The Sheriff's Office said deputies who arrived at the Citgo rendered aid to a man who suffered multiple gunshot wounds. That man, identified as Arthur Adams, 19, later died at a hospital. Deputies said Adams was a documented gang member, but did not provide information on what gang he may have been affiliated with.

Deputies linked the calls to an incident that occurred a Walmart store parking lot, the Sheriff's Office said.

Officials initially believed three to four men had been involved in an attempted theft that led to a shooting.

The Sheriff's Office said the men had been trying to steal cartfuls of baby items and load them into a red Nissan Rogue, which had been carjacked on Jan. 14, when a Walmart employee confronted them in the parking lot, deputies said.

"I think what was being stolen, I believe, was Pampers, or some type of baby diapers," Sheriff's Office Capt. Angelo Nieves said.

Deputies said the men likely intended to resell the items.

A customer who went to help an employee claimed to have felt threatened and pulled out a firearm out to defend himself, shooting at the suspected thief and the car he was attempting to leave in. That car ended up at a Citgo where the other occupants got out and ran away, deputies said.

No weapon was found on Adams or at the scene, but deputies did say that Adams has an extensive criminal record.

"The history we have on this individual who had approximately 15 felony arrests, four felony convictions and also had several warrants outstanding at the time he was committing the theft when the shooting broke out," Nieves said.

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One of the people who ran away was later found after deputies received word hours later that a girl was seeking medical treatment at a hospital for a gunshot wound to her leg. Deputies said they believe she was only in the car and not involved in the theft, so at this time she is not facing charges.

Investigators are still searching for the third person involved. Crimeline is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Officials released surveillance video pictures of the man showing him wearing a green, collared shirt as he pushes a shopping cart through the store.

Deputies have not released the identity of the man who admitted to shooting Adams. It's unclear if he will be charged. Deputies said they are leaving that decision to the state attorney. 

"We are reviewin. The case is still open. We are still trying to determine all the circumstances that occurred and once we have that information we will go ahead and present that to the state attorney," Nieves said.

Information on whether or not the customer had a permit for the gun he used in the shooting has not yet been released.

News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said authorities will likely examine if the case will qualify as self-defense, and if so, the 50-year-old man won't be charged.

"The facts will be: Was this customer a vigilante? Was he looking for a fight? Was he looking for an excuse to hurt somebody? Or kill somebody. Or was he being a good Samaritan?" Kramer said. "You know if the story matches up and it lines up and he seems to be a good Samaritan trying to save his life and somebody else's life, well how can you charge that guy? And if you do, he's going to have a great claim to self defense."



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