HOUSTON – A Harris County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a shoplifting suspect who was trying to flee from a Walmart Thursday night.
Loss prevention observed a group of women stuffing items inside their purses at the Walmart in the 14000 block of the North Freeway at West Road around 10:15 p.m., according to Harris County authorities. They notified Louis Campbell, an off-duty deputy who was working an extra job as security.
Investigators said Tiasa Andrews, Yolanda Craig and Shelly Frey paid for some small items as unpaid merchandise remained concealed.
Campbell confronted the women as they left the store and asked them to stop, but the women would not cooperate, Harris County deputies said. One woman allegedly struck the deputy with her purse and they all fled.
Campbell chased Frey around the parking lot. She got in a car with the other suspects and two children. Campbell opened the door and commanded them to stop, but the car was placed in drive and moved forward, investigators said.
“I think it knocked him off balance and, in fear of his life and being ran over, he discharged his weapon at that point,” said Thomas Gilliland, Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Frey was struck in the neck.
Gilliland said it was clear that the deputy was law enforcement.
“He was clearly marked in uniform as a Harris County deputy. And identified himself as the suspects were leaving the establishment,” Gilliland said.
The women fled the parking lot, but eventually stopped at The Worthington at the Beltway apartments in the 1300 block of Greens Parkway. Paramedics with the Houston Fire Department where called to the scene. Paramedics tried to revive her, but could not, and she was pronounced dead.
“To me, it should never (have) happened. I wish the officer didn’t shoot her. I wish he shot her tires just to slow her down. That’s a mother you know. And now they have to figure out what to do with the kids,” said Angel Gaines, a neighbor.
Kesha Sapp, a woman who knew Frey, agreed.
“What that look like with him shooting with the darn kids in the car? There were kids in the car with them. Why is he shooting at the car? Come on now, that makes him look bad. That don’t even look right,” Sapp said.
Harris County investigators said Campbell is a deputy with 26 years of experience. He’s assigned to the Detentions Bureau.
Frey’s children were placed with relatives.
Andrews and Craig were taken into custody for questioning and both face robbery charges.