A convenience store owner, 30-year-old Min Sik Kim, in Spanaway, Washington was sentenced to eight years in prison after shooting and killing a thief in his store.
This came only one month after the owner’s wife also had a harrowing encounter with an armed robber where she was shot. The wife fended off her attacker with her own pistol but things escalated quickly and she ended up getting shot in the stomach by the criminal, leaving her critically wounded.
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A 31-year-old Spanaway convenience store owner was sentenced Friday to just over eight years in prison for the fatal shooting of a shoplifter trying to flee his shop last year.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge John Hickman sentenced Min Sik Kim, 31, owner of the Pacific Quick Shop on Pacific Avenue in Spanaway. Kim had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
“I’m here to take responsibility for my actions in taking Mason’s life,” Mr. Kim said during sentencing. “I accept the consequences. I did not have the right to take his life.”
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Kim’s wife was clerking the same store in February 2015 when the store was robbed by a different person. The robber displayed a gun and the two fired at each other. She was shot, but survived.
At the time of the shooting, Kim said he stepped out of the store to tell a few men loitering outside his store to go away. He then noticed a man entering his store, trying to steal cigarettes from behind the counter. Surveillance video shows Min Kim pulling out a gun as he walked back inside of the store.
Per the surveillance videos, Kim punched Mason in the face and then the thief started running out of the store, but not before picking up a few cartons of cigarettes on his way out. That's when Kim shot him dead.
Min Kim was in tears as he told the judge that he accepts responsibility for what he did. He also apologized for his actions, and killing Jakeel Mason. Min Kim's wife asked the judge for permission to write a letter expressing her condolences and regret to the 'victim's' family, which was granted.
During the trial both sides presented conflicting points of view. Kim said that there was a struggle and the thief was on top of him threatening his life and he shot the guy in self defense.
The prosecution presenting damning evidence that showed the robber was, in fact, unarmed, and had been shot in the back by Mr. Kim while trying to run away.
Perhaps Kim's attorneys should have pushed for a plea bargain or plead no contest, heck, even guilty. His sentence most likely would have been lighter. Since the video was submitted as evidence his attorneys had access to this cut and dry evidence. How could they not see a conviction was imminent?
The only way I can see Mr Kim's attorney's not going for an alternative to trying to be found not guilty is that they thought the jury could be softened up enough when they heard the about the traumatic experience Mr Kim's wife had shortly before the fatal night.
Regardless, video purportedly shows the man shooting an unarmed man attempting to flee in the back. You can't dispute video evidence like that. And you just can't go shooting unarmed people, no matter what their intentions.
Personally I feel he his lawyers should have found a way to get him a lighter sentence and at the very least, the judge should have given him something lighter.
If the deceased had not come into the convenience store with the sole intent on committing a felony, then none of this would have happened. Yes, I also blame the criminal.
What would you have done? Would you have had a slight case of itchy trigger finger after having experienced what your wife and family just experienced? These questions could also apply to the same reasoning as why police seem like they have 'itchy trigger fingers'. They see, and know all too well what known criminals can and will do. We will save that debate for another day.
Mr Kim will probably only serve half of his sentence, 4 years, he keeps his life and family, and another habitual criminal is permanently off the streets.
Should he go to jail for killing a man while protecting his store?