Man who fatally shot suspected diaper thief outside Walmart in Orange County to be sentenced

Lonnie Leonard pleaded guilty to manslaughter charge, court records show

Lonnie Leonard

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge, a man who fatally shot a suspected diaper thief outside of a Walmart in February 2017 will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Lonnie Leonard took a plea deal on Friday, according to court records.

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Leonard was arrested in April 2017 months after shooting Arthur Adams, 19, who was one of four people suspected of trying to steal shopping carts full of baby items, including diapers.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Leonard initially told deputies he chased the shoplifters out to an SUV in the parking lot. He told deputies he believed they had a weapon and according to a report, “they were posturing and reaching in their waistband and under the car seats.”

However, the sheriff’s office said surveillance video did not match what Leonard initially reported and showed he started pulling his gun while running out of the store before he said he saw the shoplifters get to their car.

Leonard will be sentenced during a hearing at 3 p.m.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.